What to do When Shot as a Police Officer

What to do When Shot as a Police Officer
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One of the most polarizing topics in our country today is how our communities are being policed. Here at ShotStop®, We have a great relationship with our law enforcement communities across the nation because we understand the importance of their presence. 

We all want a more harmonious nation, but we also understand the danger our law enforcement community faces every day. This is why we cater to our law enforcement communities and offer discounts and deals that can’t be beaten anywhere else for this level of technology and value. 

This blog is dedicated to further educating our LE clients about how to respond if they’re shot in the line of duty. We also want to provide empirical evidence as to why police should wear body armor. 

We want every one of our clients to have the highest level of confidence in our ballistic armor. However, we also understand that unlike civilians, LEOs still have a job to do if/when shot. I can tell you from personal experience that once the first bullet passes by, the adrenaline rush will cause you to forget everything you’ve learned without building proper muscle memory. This is why training with your gear is so important. 

Why Should Police Officers Wear Body Armor?

There are so many statistics floating around the internet that are out of context or simply wrong regarding police violence. For example, only 48 officers have been feloniously killed in 2019 and over 1,300 civilians have been killed by police. Looking at this statistic shows a great disparity in violence. However, there have been an additional 2,801 police officers shot last year that people don’t like to write about. 

We’re writing this to provide the full picture for officers to consider when wearing body armor. There are 475,848 officers taking the streets every day and only 48 (0.01008%) have been killed in the line of duty in 2019. These statistics might deduce that they probably don’t need body armor. However, when you add the 2,801 (0.59%) officers shot and wounded, you have a much higher percentage of being shot. 

One statistic that is not measured by the F.B.I. is the number of officers that have been shot at but the assailant missed. I have no way of knowing that exact number, but I can assure our readers that it’s significantly higher than anyone would expect. 

Knowing what you now know, body armor is a must and should always be worn on duty for every police officer. There are dozens of companies that provide armor, but there is no company like ShotStop®. We have the lightest, thinnest, and most affordable body armor on the market for law enforcement organizations. 

What’s the Best Way to Utilize Body Armor?

Everything an officer carries and uses in the line of duty is a tool for them to accomplish their goal of serving and protecting their community. I believe it’s best to think of body armor as a tool of the job that gives our local heroes the best chance to make it home to their families. Once you’re in this mindset, it makes it easier to ensure you never leave your home without it. 

As we’ve stated in our previous blog, What to do When Shot While Wearing Body Armor, always square yourself to your target if you don’t have proper cover. Your armor is designed to be hit from the front and works best when it’s hit straight on. Follow the care instructions in the manual and learn the proper storage. If you’re wanting to read more about care and storage, read our blog, Level III vs Level IV Body Armor | Ultimate Guide to Understanding Body Armor.

What Should I Do When Shot on Duty?

As unfortunate of a question as this is, it’s important to discuss because it happens more than it should. Every officer knows the risks they take when they put the uniform on, but not as many know the protocols to follow if they’re shot on duty.

 

WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE (IACP)?

The International Association of Chiefs of Police is an organization that was created in conjunction with the federal Bureau of justice. The goal of the IACP is to provide information to law enforcement leadership and give them the resources they need to train their police force. The IACP has created a list of 4 things to consider for police officers to consider immediately after a shooting. 

Welfare of the Officers and Others at the Scene

The first thing for officers to consider is the security of the crime scene and the safety of the public. This is the number 1 priority for every officer involved or responding to the scene. If the officer is capable, it’s vital to ascertain whether or not the suspect is a threat to the public or officers. 

I can tell you from my experience that the adrenaline rush an officer gets from a firefight is second to none. Everyone is built uniquely with different temperaments, personalities, and fight or flight reactions. This adrenaline needs to be harnessed by officers so they’re able to act with a clear head.

The Apprehension of Suspect(s)

Once the crime scene is secured, it’s the responsibility of the first capable officer to secure the scene and remain as the incident commander until relieved. If the officer involved is able to return fire and hit the suspect, the officer should always act as if the suspect is still dangerous until handcuffed and subdued. No matter what, everyone suspected of being involved should be handcuffed and safely secured until other officers arrive to assist. 

Preservation of Evidence and Protection of the Incident Scene

Officers should understand that after a shooting the adrenaline will either cause you to panic and freeze or adapt and overcome. I remember my first firefight lasted for about 30 seconds outside of a town in Balad, Iraq. It felt like 45 minutes and there are details that I was unable to recall. This level of disorientation and confusion is different for everyone, regardless of your level of toughness.  

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Officers should try to remain focused on small singular facts about the incident to help with recall. For example, the IACP believes that the officer involved should immediately note in their pad their immediate surroundings, such as witnesses, potential suspects, and any vehicles around the scene. If the officer is capable, he/she should secure the scene with tape and remove any bystander from the area to preserve the evidence.  

Identification of Witnesses

Police 101 states you should always try and separate any witnesses, and suspects as quickly as possible. This is so the investigators can get the uncoerced testimony from everyone involved. You never want to allow anyone to get together to discuss their story because people are easily manipulated, especially in stressful situations. One thing I used to do after an incident is taking my phone out and take as many pictures and/or videos that I could take. This really helps the investigators to see more of the scene in real-time. Just keep in mind that you should talk with your department leadership about if personal phones are permitted.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER THE INCIDENT?

If you’ve been shot and you follow the guidelines listed above, you need to seek medical attention. Even if you’re thinking that you’re ok and the vest took the brunt of the force, you could still be hurt.

I’ve known many soldiers hit in their armor and they all at least had massive bruising. Your adrenaline is going to be so high that you probably won't feel anything, but unfortunately, that adrenaline doesn’t last forever. You could have cracked ribs or internal organ damage and not know it until your body dumps that adrenaline.

 

You’ll also want to get everything documented at the hospital for your service records because even if you’re okay at the moment, it doesn’t mean you’ll be okay for the rest of your life. I also highly recommend talking with a professional about the incident so you don’t develop severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Why Choose ShotStop®?

At the end of the day, every soldier and LEO knows that you’re only as good as your training and tools. During my time in the military, I’ve worn armor that has been handed down to me from what seemed like Vietnam. In short, I didn’t trust my armor at all and always wondered if my armor was going to stop a bullet. That’s incredibly dangerous to think about when you’re trying to survive and protect your teammates. 

ShotStop® body armor will make sure that when you put your vest on and you’re going to be as safe as possible. Not only is our body armor lightweight and more comfortable than any other company, we have the best warranty on the market. You have a million things to consider when on duty, don’t add to it by worrying if your armor is good enough. 

If you’re interested in wearing the lightest, thinnest, and most comfortable body armor on the planet contact our sales team today at salesteam@shotstop.com

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Conclusion

Every officer should know beforehand how to react to being shot, so it’s easier to deal with when it happens. We wholeheartedly appreciate the sacrifice and dedication that it takes to be a peace officer. Thank you for your service to our communities.


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