POLICE Magazine

AUG 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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B A L L I S T IC PR O T E C T IO N | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | 5 ➔ If you mention vehicle armor used by law enforcement, most people will imagine a heavy rescue vehicle such as a Bearcat. But in recent years more and more American law enforcement agen- cies are adding armor capable of defeat- ing both pistol and rifle rounds to their patrol vehicles. For a standard patrol vehicle, the ar- eas that are most likely to come under attack are the doors and side windows. So that's where most law enforcement agencies are focusing their armoring efforts. ere are two basic ways to add bal- listic armor to the doors of a law en- forcement vehicle that isn't specifically designed to be an armored car: You can install it into the door or apply it to the surface of the vehicle. IN THE DOOR Ford was the first maker of law enforce- ment patrol vehicles to offer armor as an option. e company first showed its NIJ Level IIIA (handgun, shotgun) and Level III (rifle, but not armor pierc- ing) vehicle armor at the International Association of Chiefs of Police show in 2007. e armor is offered as an option, and is now available in Level IV (armor piercing). Since 2015, Ford's in-the-door vehi- cle armor has been made by DEW En- gineering (www.dewengineering.com), an Ottawa, Canada-based company that built its business on producing mil- itary armor for the U.S. and Canadian militaries. Jackie Pothier, a DEW engineer and director of the company's business de- velopment, says that in addition to its work with Ford in the OEM market, the company is now branching out into making armor for vehicles that are al- ready on the road. "It's not unusual for agencies to have wanted armored panels when they ordered the vehicle but they couldn't afford them at the time. Now they have the budget and want to add them," Pothier says, adding the compa- ny is now selling directly to agencies. DEW's aermarket products are available for a variety of popular law en- forcement vehicles, including Chevrolet and Dodge models. For aermarket sales, DEW ships the panels directly to the agency or to the agency's upfitter for installation. One concern about installing armor inside the doors of patrol vehicles is how much weight the armor adds to the ve- hicle and how the additional weight af- fects performance. Pothier says weight varies based on the protection level and composition of the armor, but DEW has a policy of never adding more than 50 pounds per door. DEW's most popular law enforcement armor panel is its Level III door panel, which weighs 42 pounds. Pothier says that when DEW first started offering products to the law en- PHOTO: DEW ENGINEERING Agencies across the nation are fitting their officers' rolling offices with bullet- resistant materials. Adding Ballistic Armor to Patrol Vehicles David Griffith DEW Engineering makes Ford's in-the- door armor for law enforcement patrol vehicles.

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