POLICE Magazine

JUL 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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PoliceMag.com 35 LT. PAUL KOTTER, UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL POINT BLANK ALPHA ELITE A round 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2015, then-Sgt. Paul Kotter of the Utah Highway Patrol was working an overtime shift in a construc- tion zone. He and two other troopers were there to keep traffic out of the area closed to the public. When a car entered that area and stopped next to Kotter's vehicle, the sergeant approached the driver on foot. Kotter smelled alcohol coming out of the car and asked the initially compliant driver, 21-year-old Drew Morgan Moyer, to exit the vehicle. Instead, the man drew a handgun and began firing out the car window at Kotter. Kotter fell backward onto his left hand, breaking bones with the impact. As he was falling, he drew his duty weapon and began returning fire. As he was scooting backward toward his vehicle, two rounds ricocheted off the ground and hit Kotter in the buttocks. He would later find out that one lodged in his abdomen and somehow didn't hit any internal organs. But those rounds didn't stop him. He kept returning fire, emptying his weapon and reloading to stay in the fight. As Kotter was standing up, Moyer started driving away, and fired two more shots at the sergeant, both of which hit Kotter in the back. His Point Blank Alpha Elite ballistic vest stopped them. "e body armor definitely stopped the bullets that should have entered my chest cavity or upper torso," he says. Kotter fired two more shots and Moyer drove down the road and crashed his car, then shot and killed himself, according to detectives. Now a lieutenant, Kotter prides himself on following the officer safety tenets of the Below 100 program, for which he is an instructor. As such, he has been a longtime advocate of wearing body armor. But that day, he was going to attend his son's football game before his shift. He contemplated not wearing his vest because he would be sitting on the bleachers in the hot sun for the game and he didn't anticipate much danger at work that night. "Ultimately I decided to wear my body armor, because of my ingrained training, even though I was going to be working a low-risk detail," says Kotter. "No one ever gets shot on construction detail, except for now." After his shooting, many people at his agency who had previously been lax about wearing their vests started to wear their armor even when just working in the office. He says it was a wake-up call for the department. "In fact, there were two people on that shift with me that night who didn't have their body armor on. I think it was fortunate for me to be the one who was ready and able to take the fight, and win the situation," says Kotter. DEPUTY MICHAEL HOCKETT, TROUP COUNTY (GA) SHERIFF'S OFFICE PROPPER 4PV 2BFA J ust before noon on Jan. 9, 2017, Troup County, GA, Deputy Michael Hockett was performing a welfare check on a man after his father called concerned about his mental state. Hockett arrived at the large property and, because the gate was locked, he had to jump over a fence to approach the front door of the residence. He knocked on the door but no one answered. en Matthew Edmonson arrived in his truck with his mother in the passenger's seat. He exited the vehicle and began shooting at the parked patrol car. Hockett heard the gunshots and took cover behind a stump. Ed- monson drove closer to the house and began shooting at Hockett. Hockett yelled at the suspect, "Drop the gun now!" but Edmonson kept firing, and Hockett was worried he would hit the suspect's moth- er in the vehicle if he returned fire. Hockett ran and jumped back over the fence as the suspect fired, striking the deputy. From this position, the deputy was able to return fire and hit Ed- monson in the shoulder. Hockett was hit in the forehead, elbow, and waist by shotgun pellets. Edmonson entered the house with his mother, and the incident led to an hours-long standoff involving multiple agencies. e deputy was able to get into his patrol car and drive away to safety. He was wearing a Propper 4PV 2BFA vest, which includes side panels that stopped and held the pellets as they entered the vest. He was released from the hospital just one hour after arriving. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF PAUL KOTTER PHOTO: PROPPER

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