When Memphis officer Josh Shearer’s protective vest blunted a potential piercing projectile, it was a warning shot to law enforcement across the area, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Despite the sweating, the uncomfortable bulky design and the extra weight, the vests can mean the difference between life or death. It is like insurance, Millington Police Chief Ray Douglas said; you hope you never need it, but if you do, saving your life offsets the discomfort.
“There may have been some who have slipped under the radar,” said Sgt. Karen Rudolph of the Memphis Police Department about the policy that uniform patrol officers wear the vests, “but I’ll guarantee you they grabbed it and made sure they had it (yesterday).” Shearer, 30, was shot Wednesday chasing a suspect. The suspect and Shearer, on the force for a year, exchanged gunfire, and the officer was hit in the upper right chest — an area covered by the vest. Shearer was released after being treated at a hospital and is expected to recover. Local law enforcement agencies said that wearing bulletproof vests is routinely required, particularly for officers on the streets. “It’s mandatory” for uniform patrol, said Chip Washington, spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.