Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Independent Ballistic Vest Testing Raises Concerns

On November 26, 2011, Officer Anthony Daley #9190, was shot and seriously wounded while on-duty.  Although Officer Daley was wearing a ballistic vest, a .40 caliber round penetrated the full thickness of the Kevlar material approximately 3/8 of an inch (20mm) above the lower left front panel edge of the vest.   In response to concerns of a potential vest failure, PLEA arranged for independent testing of a ballistic vest of the same brand, threat level, model number, lot number, and manufacture date as Officer Daley’s vest.

Officer Daley’s vest was identified as follows:

  • Manufacturer:  Custom Armor Technologies
  • Threat Level:  IIIA
  • Model Number:  QVA-3A-1
  • Serial Number:  03005357
  • Lot Numbers:  400010122119 and 1000076399
  • Manufacture Date:  May 12, 2008

CLICK HERE for a copy of the departmental ENS

In cooperation with the Phoenix Police Department, PLEA made arrangements with Oregon Ballistic Laboratories to conduct testing on a ballistic vest of the exact brand, threat level, model number, and lot number as the ballistic vest Officer Daley was wearing when he was shot. Upon hearing the circumstances and because of their concern for the safety of officers, Oregon Ballistic Laboratories agreed to conduct the test at no cost.

On February 16, 2012, Oregon Ballistic Laboratories conducted a test on the supplied ballistic vest using standard National Institute of Justice, NIJ, protocol with the following results:

  • Using a 44 magnum, the NIJ standard for a level IIIA vest, at a distance of 16.5 feet, there was one complete penetration and the projectile was not recovered
  • In addition, there were two other .40 caliber rounds that failed the Back Face Deformation, BFD test maximum of 44mm.  One was at 46.31mm  and the other at 51.19mm.  This relates to blunt force trauma injuries as a result of being shot where the round did not penetrate the vest.

PLEA would like to thank Chief Joe Yahner and Chief Kevin Robinson for their immediate concern and response to this issue as well as Mayor Greg Stanton and the members of the City of Phoenix Public Safety Subcommittee for their support.

PLEA would also like to thank John Harvey, Steve Griffith, and Brandon Bertsch of Oregon Ballistic Laboratories for their assistance in researching this serious officer safety issue

Our current goal, in cooperation with the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department, is to identify all current Phoenix Police Officers who may be wearing a vest made by Custom Armor Technologies and make arrangements to obtain a different ballistic vest for them as well as facilitate financial reimbursement for the replacement vest.