Vest Saves Life Contest - Leadership -

Vest Saves Life Contest

Contest opens May 31; Ends June 1

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Below 100 Initiative
» Wear Your Seatbelt
» Wear Your Vest
» Watch Your Speed
» WIN - What's Important Now?
» Remember: Complacency Kills!


Editor's Note

Law Officer has been looking for the most compelling ballistic armor save stories on our Facebook page. We’ve gotten some incredible submissions from all over the country, each of which drives home the point—wear your vest! We've narrowed down all the submissions to the following four stories. Now we'd like you to select the final winner!

How to Vote

Please read each body armor save story before you cast your vote on the Law Officer Facebook poll. Please visit to find the contest poll question pinned at the top of the page. Please don't post your vote as a comment on the Facebook wall.

When to Vote

Poll question will be posted on the Law Officer Facebook page on Thursday, May 31st (noon PST). The body armor save story with the most votes by Friday, June 1st (noon PST), wins and will be displayed in print and online! Note: You can only vote once!


  • Descriptive
  • Compelling
  • Promotes officers to wear body armor

Finalist #1
While working as a deputy in North Western Vermont, I was responding to an active domestic call and traveling code on a rural road during heavy rain. As I rounded a corner, my cruiser hydroplaned on the standing water in the roadway and I lost control. The cruiser spun around and was rear ended into a boulder at about 70 mph. The force of the impact was so severe that the cage behind my seat was dented from the driver’s seat thrusting into it. Despite being momentarily unconscious and having a laceration to my head, whiplash and my boots pulled from my feet, I didn’t suffer any injuries to my torso thanks to my seat belt. Also, my Point Blank level IIIA vest that I had purchased a week prior dispersed the impact, keeping me from receiving bruising or broken ribs from the collision.
Submitted by Chad Parah, Swanton Village, Vt. PD

Finalist #2
On January 2, 2010, I put on my Safariland ABA vest and wrapped it around my waist like I had done a thousand times before. Then I went on to the new step in my routine and kissed my 12-week-old son goodbye before snapping a picture of my wife holding him. Being a new father, I was still in the “snap-a-picture-of-every-moment” stage. Little did I know how close that moment was to being my last memory of them.

The first half of my 12-hour shift seemed to fly by. After several reports and a couple arrests, I found myself parked behind a desk working on paperwork. Around 4 am, I decided to walk out into the bone-chilling morning air to grab a snack from my cruiser. As I reached my car, I heard a metallic click that I hadn’t noticed before. When I turned my head to investigate, I locked eyes with a suspect I had arrested earlier in my shift for drunk driving—only this time he showed up with a .357 revolver and an ambush plan.

I had zero time to react. His first round hit me in the back, but my training took over as I began to return fire and make my way to cover while calling for help on the radio. The suspect’s next four rounds missed me. After nine rounds from my weapon and seven more from my partner, the suspect was down in the parking lot.

My brain and emotions were running at record pace as I met my partner in the parking lot to check me out. As I lay there on the pavement as the first responders started to arrive, imagine my relief as he screamed, “It’s in your vest!” Instead of a helicopter ride or a body bag, I was given a short trip to the local hospital to get checked out.

I don’t want to think about the alternative outcome of this situation had I not put my vest on that night—I would have been out of the fight before I realized what was happening. I’m sure it wouldn’t have resulted with me walking out of the ER just a couple hours afterward with my son in my arms. I still think about that day often and always cheer myself up by looking at my favorite picture—the one they took of me holding my son in my living room that morning after I arrived home. Bottom line: Please always wear your body armor!
Submitted by Justin Conley, Mount Orab, Ohio PD

Finalist #3
The night of July 17, 2005, was cold in New York City.  Only a few cars were out for the midnight tour so coverage was sparse. When it began to rain at about 1 a.m., the night took on an ominous feel. Calls were coming in but nothing too crazy.

But something changed around 2 a.m. “Shots fired” came over the air. In New York, “shots fired” could mean nothing—or it could mean everything! That night it meant everything—and more.

The address was right up the street. In the short ride over, my mind began to process what to expect. Expectation was far off from reality.

The scene unfolded outside a Roman Catholic Church. We patrolled the area, seeing and hearing nothing. After a while, I called into central to close the call out with ‘unfounded.’ But just then—BOOM! We backed up and made a U-turn. The sound was reminiscent of an M-80 firework. Just as we completed a 180-degree turn, we could see a man with a long object in his hand. He began to charge after us, firing twice in our direction. This was fight-or-flight time. With my adrenaline pumping and my mind racing, it was time to fight!

Below 100 Initiative
It’s been more than 70 years since the annual number of line-of-duty police deaths was fewer than 100. Law Officer's Below 100 initiative will change that by concentrating on areas that can most effectively save officers' lives. An awareness campaign, combined with a training program, Below 100 will provide a commonsense solution to driving down a number that has remained too high for too long. It begins with five simple tenets:

1. Wear Your Seatbelt | 2. Wear Your Vest | 3. Watch Your Speed
4. WIN-What's Important Now? | 5. Remember: Complacency Kills!


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