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Peters Bipartisan Bill to Equip Female DHS Officers with Next Generation Body Armor Technology Advances in Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) to provide next generation body armor tailored to best meet the coverage, fit, and functionality needs of female law enforcement personnel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has advanced in the Senate. Recent ballistic testing by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified that body armor typically used by DHS officers can allow bullets to deflect off the chest of the armor and hit the throat area, leaving female officers, and some male officers, vulnerable. The bill would require all agencies under DHS to provide law enforcement personnel with appropriately fitting improved ballistic body armor to keep them safe. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as Chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.   

“The brave men and women who are risking their lives to keep us safe deserve to have protective body armor that fits correctly to keep them safe. My bill will ensure that all officers, regardless of gender or body type, will have access to the most advanced and effective safety equipment,” said Senator Peters. “We must update these outdated policies to ensure federal law enforcement officers are safe, and I’m proud my committee approved this important bill as we honor the officers who risk their lives to protect our communities during National Police Week.” 

In 2022, the FBI conducted ballistic testing using updated procedures and improved body molds that accounted for different body types. The testing found that the commonly used body armor, when tested on a females and certain male molds, was vulnerable to a bullet, or other projectile, ricocheting off the top center of the front armor panel and into the throat area, which could kill an officer. Since the testing, improved ballistic body armor has been created and is available, but DHS does not provide this potentially life-saving body armor to their officers.  

The bipartisan DHS Better Ballistic Body Armor Act would require all agencies under DHS to provide their female law enforcement officers, and any law enforcement personnel, with improved ballistic body armor to better protect them in the line of duty.