POLICE Magazine Supplements

Ballistic Protection 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption forcement market, its Level IIIA panels were in the greatest demand. In just four years that has changed. "A lot more agencies are asking for rifle protection," she says. "Whether an officer works in the inner city or out in farm country, the rifles are out there." ON THE DOOR Pocomoke City, MD-based Hardwire LLC (www.hardwirellc.com) takes a very different approach to armoring law enforcement vehicles than its competi- tors. It applies the armor to the outside of the vehicle. duced by Chevy, Dodge, and Ford. Tunis says that because Hardwire's armor is applied to the exterior of the ve- hicle it is easy to install. "It takes about 10 to 15 minutes for a crew of four to armor the vehicle," he explains. Also, agencies can add to the armor in order to increase the protection. "Our kits all work like Lego," Tunis says. "You can go from IIIA to III and add on just like Lego." Tunis adds that the armor comes off as easily as it goes on. If a car is wrecked or it is being retired because of mile- age, the armor can be transferred to the same make and model of vehicle. definitely a deterrent," Tunis says, add- ing that no police vehicle protected by Hardwire's B-Kit armor has been shot at. Hardwire's B-Kit armor is made of Dyneema's ultra-high-molecu- lar-weight polyethylene ballistic ma- terial. It also has a molded cover that's made of the same material as the plastic trim used on contemporary vehicles. e cover can be color-matched to the vehicle's paint and decorated with the agency's markings. WINDOWS Glass is one of the greatest vulnera- bilities on any law enforcement patrol vehicle. An attacker can fire into the windshield or more likely into the side windows. Armoring an SUV wind- shield is expensive and adds a lot of weight. But armoring the side windows is much more practical. Patrol vehicle window armor is usu- ally made of polycarbonate or layered glass. DEW's Pothier says customers choose the material based on the value they place on different factors such as scratch resistance. Vehicle armor manufacturers have produced an ingenious solution to pro- tect the driver or passenger while main- taining functionality of the window and minimizing weight and expense: ey only shield the part of the window where the driver or passenger can be hit by gunfire. "It covers about half of the window," says Hardwire's Tunis. With both DEW's and Hardwire's window armor, the existing vehicle window stays on the vehicle, and the armor is not attached to the window but the door. is way officers can roll down their windows and talk to people while the armor stays in place. Pothier says there's no way with current tech- nology to replace the window with the armor material and maintain function- ality. "e armor would be too thick for the window slot," she says. Patrol vehicle window armor is ex- tremely tough, according to Tunis. An- swering a question about multiple shot capabilities, he says, "You can shoot it all day and not penetrate it. At some point it just fills up with lead." 6 | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | B A L L I S T IC PR O T E C T IO N Adding Ballistic Armor to Patrol Vehicles PHOTO: NYPD NYPD patrol vehicles are fitted with ballistic door panels and windows from Hardwire. He says, "Reusing it has been a huge cost-savings for all the departments that use it." Currently, Hardwire's B-Kit armor is in use by the Philadelphia Police De- partment and the NYPD. Tunis says both the officers and the public can tell that the vehicle is armored. "It makes the car look a little more muscular, not militarized, but muscular," he says, adding that officers take comfort in the "blister" on the side of their cars. "Of- ficers rest their hands on it to confirm their vehicles are armored," he explains. Bad guys also apparently notice the armor on the outside of the vehicle. "It's Hardwire CEO George Tunis says the idea for adding armor to the exteri- or of patrol vehicles was developed from the company's work for the military. at's why the company refers to its po- lice vehicle armor system as a "B-Kit." In military vehicle armoring nomen- clature, the vehicle itself is the "A-Kit," and the armor added to the exterior to protect the occupants from small arms fire is the "B-Kit." Hardwire's B-Kit armor covers the patrol vehicle's doors, and it is available for 14 different makes of popular law enforcement vehicles, including all of the pursuit-rated patrol vehicles pro-

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