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 Training and education are paramount. Officers should es- pecially understand how their ballistic helmet and ballistic vest work together to keep them safe. Knowing how to don their helmets correctly and size for proper fit becomes even more crucial in an emergency when time is of the essence. is is especially true when officers need to wear other equipment in tandem, for example, a helmet with a gas mask. Training should also take into account the environment in which the officer functions, as factors such as climate and weather could have an impact. It is up to the agency's training officer and/or manufacturer representative to conduct the necessary educational sessions on how to best use and manage the equipment. Typically, training is done on an annual basis for mobile field forces and more fre- quently for specialized units. e point is that you should train in your helmet at least once a year. Many of us in the industry even recommend integrating ballistic helmet protection into a qualification course as a component of assault training, active shooter training, or mobile field force exercises. 7. When is it appropriate for a patrol officer to use a helmet? Your agency's policy should be followed. But we recommend that officers wear their helmets any time a threat is heightened, for example, when serving warrants. If the officer feels they need to be protected and policy permits it, they should put on their helmet. Let your intuition be your guide. e most im- portant factor is that the ballistic helmet must be accessible in the first place, with the patrol officer in their patrol vehicle. 8. How should officers take care of their helmets? Always refer to the equipment manual for correct use and care, but a few guidelines include: * Keep helmet away from any caustic materials * Ensure retention straps are in good condition * Use a protective cover for face shield to avoid scratches * Use a protective case for storing helmet 9. What next-gen helmet standards are anticipated? New specifications are being developed by the military. ese focus particularly on protection from rifle threats. In addition, various research teams within the Department of Defense are studying traumatic brain injury, with the goal of quantifying the effects to determine the best level of protection and which threats helmets should be rated to protect against. In addition, the hope is that NIJ-specific mandates will be available in the near future. 10. What are head protection makers focused on for the future? Manufacturers essentially have two goals as they look to- ward the future of head protection: 1. ey are working to advance more lightweight, ergonom- ic equipment through the introduction of high-tech materials and application of new configurations. We are also seeing en- hancements around reducing weight while building in more robust ballistic protection and accommodating accessory tools such as communication devices, body cameras, and more. 2. Greater attention is being paid to traumatic brain injury and how to prevent or decrease it. e emphasis is on better management of backface deformation and energy transfer. e information and recommendations provided in this ar- ticle are intended for general education purposes only. Officers should be guided by their agencies' policies and practices. Jonathan MacNeil is director of ballistics research and devel- opment at Armor Express and has more than 20 years of ballistic technical experience and product design expertise. He has com- mercialized 70 new products, is a co-inventor of four patents, and has published several validation studies demonstrating the effects of fiber properties and ballistic performance. Steve Murphy is Armor Express' tactical product line director and has served in various leadership roles in law enforcement, corrections, and fire/EMS, including as a SWAT team member and tactics/firearms instructor. He is an adjunct board member of the Michigan Tactical Officers Association. 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 | 9 PHOTOS: ARMOR EXPRESS Agencies should look for a helmet that is designed to stop NIJ Level IIIA rounds and is multi-hit capable.

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