Never allow body armor to expire
For months before their union in May filed a formal grievance over the issue, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents had complained about body armor older than the manufacturer’s expiration date. One BCI supervisor declared in an email that, “I will not allow my folks to go through a single door!”
His reference was to the fact that law enforcement agencies engaged in raids sometimes are greeted by gunfire when they breach residences.
According to one report, 53 of about 100 BCI agents were working with expired body armor vests earlier this year.
Last month, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a new initiative to help fund purchases of body armor by local law enforcement agencies. Good.
But why were the state BCI agents’ complaints ignored for so long their union filed a grievance over the issue?
Law enforcement officers, agents and deputies engage in sometimes dangerous work. More than a few of them are alive today because they were wearing body armor that stopped bullets.
But material in such vests, including Kevlar, can deteriorate over time. Old body armor can become virtually useless.
State officials who ignored the BCI agents’ pleas ought to be ashamed of themselves. The very least we can do for law enforcement personnel is help them stay alive.