Comparing the Effects of Different Body Armor Systems on the Occupational Performance of Police Officers

Ben Schram, Rob Marc Orr, Rodney R Pope, Benjamin Hinton, Geoff Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
195 Downloads (Pure)


Policing duties may inherently be dangerous due to stab, blunt trauma and ballistic threats. The addition of individual light armor vests (ILAVs) has been suggested as a means to protect officers. However, the addition of the extra load of the ILAV may affect officer ability to conduct occupational tasks. The purpose of this study was to determine if wearing any of three different ILAVs made by different companies with their preferred materials and designs (ILAV A, 4.68 percent body weight, ILAV B, 4.05 percent body weight, & ILAV C, 3.71 percent body weight) affected occupational task performance when compared to that in normal station wear. A prospective, within-subjects repeated measures design was employed, using a counterbalanced randomization in which each ILAV was worn for an entire day while officers completed a variety of occupationally relevant tasks. These tasks included a victim drag, car exit and 5-meter sprint, step down and marksmanship task. To compare the effects of the ILAVs on these tasks, a multivariate repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted, with post hoc pairwise comparisons using a Bonferroni adjustment. Results showed that performance in each task did not vary between any of the ILAV or normal station wear conditions. There was less variability in the marksmanship task with ILAV B, however. The results suggest that none of the ILAVs used in this study were heavy enough to significantly affect task performance in the assessed tasks when compared to wearing normal station wear.

Original languageEnglish
Article number893
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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