As a commanding officer, he says, "If I had an officer working for me and I knew that he or she was not wearing a vest when they were killed, I don't think I could sleep well after that. This job is dangerous enough -- we do not need apathetic managers openly not caring about the safety of their officers. When we do not mandate the wearing of vests, when we don't provide vests, when we don't provide adequate training on a regular basis, we are derelict of our duty in the worst sense."
OPP Constable No. 11282 is IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors' Club save No. 3058. More than that, Falle is an ardent promoter of vest wear to those who don't wear their vest, not as a commander, but as someone who does the same job they do. He speaks as someone who once thought as they do, "I won't need the vest," and as someone who wears it anyway to be safe, and is thankful that on June 9, 2008, he did.
Rebecca Kanable is a freelance writer specializing in law enforcement topics. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Resolve to improve
In addition to mandating that officers wear body armor, IACP's body armor resolution recommends law enforcement agencies:
- Obtain proper fitting body armor for all law enforcement officers;
- Establish an ongoing program to educate all agency personnel about their obligation to protect themselves, as well as the "life and death" advantages of routine body armor wear; and
- Conduct periodic and regular inspections of issued soft body armor to ensure proper fit and useable condition, and replace defective armor as needed or recommended by the manufacturer.