Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty: Contextual and Situational Factors Relating to Body Armor


Sociology and Criminal Justice

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Using the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Program (LEOKA), this article examines law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the line of duty from 2002–2017 in which 821 officers were feloniously killed. Through an analysis of contextual and situational factors of the officer’s fatality, this article explores the extent to which body armor impacts the manner in which an officer is feloniously killed. Prior research has not sufficiently explored the effectiveness of body armor usage to reduce the risk of death of felonious killings. Results indicate that LEOs killed not wearing body armor were no more likely to suffer their fatality from somewhere besides their head compared to officers who were wearing body armor. Although there was no statistically significant difference, body armor and protective gear are a crucial part of an officer's work which has been further heightened during this recent era of social, political and civil unrest. The need for better protection for police officers needs to be prioritized.

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American Journal of Criminal Justice

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