NIJ body armor safety initiative status report executive summary
On November 17, 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the U.S. Department of Justice’s Body Armor Safety Initiative in response to concerns from the law enforcement community regarding the effectiveness of body armor in use. These concerns followed the failure of a relatively new Zylon®-based1 body armor vest worn by a Forest Hills, Pennsylvania, police officer. The Attorney General directed the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to initiate an examination of Zylon®-based bullet-resistant armor (both new and used), to analyze upgrade kits provided by manufacturers to retrofit Zylon®-based bullet-resistant armors, and to review the existing program by which bullet-resistant armor is tested to determine if the process needs modification.
As part of the Body Armor Safety Initiative, NIJ has issued two status reports to the Attorney General containing results from the body armor studies.2 The first two status reports highlighted the following findings: