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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and Protective Body Armor


In the story my heroine is called out to a homicide that they suspect is connected to a previous one. She is attacked by a criminal who shoots acid at her that hits her in the chest. She has the vest on which is able to somewhat protect her. My editor wants to know why she is wearing a vest when she answered this call. I looked around online and found some places require uniform officers to wear body armor, though not specific to San Diego. I had a harder time finding anything about detectives. Is it possible a police detective would wear a Kevlar vest or body armor on a call out?

Thank you!

Most Agencies require their Patrol Officer wear protective vests while on patrol, while a few leave it to an officer’s discretion. An officer’s uniform makes them a target – everyone knows who and what they are, which is not always a good thing. Because Investigators and Detectives usually wear ‘street clothing’ they typically have a choice if they want to wear their vest or not.

When I was hired on by the California Highway Patrol, even though it was optional, I always wore my vest. I was my area’s shit magnet. Trust me, if something was going to happen – I was usually at the center of whatever ‘it’ was.  I felt naked without my vest. I learned to follow my 'gut and when I felt the need, I wore my vest. It's always better to have and not need than to need and not have. Because I learned to trust my instincts, I usually had what I needed when I needed it.

When I transitioned to investigations it took me some time to feel comfortable going without it, the vest, when I dealt with the public at large. However, if my ‘gut’ told me to I put my vest on – I did. It’s fairly easy to conceal a vest under civilian clothes.

Depending on the area, Detectives have been known to wear a vest to a call out.  There are lots of circumstances where a LEO may wear their vest but not be required to do so. I personally had issue with those Detectives/Investigators that threw their vest on OVER their clothing - especially if they had time to conceal it underneath. For me that was a huge sign saying: Please aim for my head as I have my torso completely protected. Personally, I didn't get it.

Didn't you say your heroine had been through a lot? Being promoted to Homicide Detective so young, her instincts have to be 'on' and pretty damn accurate. Not to mention her being thrust into a paranormal story. I would think anyone in her circumstances, with even an ounce of intelligence, would start wearing body armor if she wasn't already. From what you told me, you've made your heroine sharp, with an eye for detail. I could totally see her wearing a vest but not advertising it. (Afterall: there would be jokes and teasing about her wearing a vest to a 'simple' call out - But that's fodder for another blog post).

Will that work for you? 


  1. Actually that was very helpful. Thank you.

  2. Is there going to be an online class in May 2012? How do I sign up?

  3. Sign-ups should be up on the RWASD website by the end of this week.

    I'll post a link here once that link is activated.

  4. Thank you again for this I copied and pasted the relevant parts into my manuscript for my editor. I'm waiting for the second round of edits. Hopefully, all your assistance has gotten me through that rough spot. But you never know, I may be back with further questions if she isn't satisfied. ( :

    Looking forward to the May class. Cheers!