"Shield Guy" Blog
|Posted on May 30, 2014 at 6:30 AM|
Tactical Response Magazine June 2014
Patrol Use of Shields
Written by Bevan, Melanie, Lord, Robert
A More Ambitious Practice
In June 2010, Polk County, Fla. Sheriff’s Deputies Paul Fairbanks and Michael Braswell were shot in the line of duty during an early morning encounter with a person riding a bicycle with no light. The suspect was shot and killed and both deputies survived the attack. Shortly thereafter, Polk County Florida Sheriff Grady Judd formed a committee, wherein the decision was made to provide every patrol deputy with a ballistic shield, likely the first large agency in Florida and perhaps the only agency of its size in the nation to do so.
In order to purchase and deploy one shield for every deputy, the agency chose 17-inch by 29-inch ballistic shields. These are smaller than the more common full size 24-inch by 36-inch shields; however, they provide adequate head, neck and upper torso Threat Level IIIA ballistic protection with a viewport. The smaller size allows for easier, front seat storage and deployment of the shields, an advantage over standard size shields.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office also worked with a shield manufacturer, Venture Ballistics, to slightly modify the standard design to one that better accommodated their agency’s needs. This new design is currently sold under the name “First Responder.” Every officer received shield training and, according to then Sgt. Mike Hughes of the training unit, a strong emphasis was placed on when and when not to deploy the shields, what rounds they can stop, and what rounds they can’t.
The shields have been in use in the field for more than two years and have been put to good use. They have an expected life span of five years, according to the manufacturer, and at around $600 per shield were reasonably priced.