Body Armor Recall

By: Koula Gianulias
By: Koula Gianulias

There isn't widespread use of this particular vest among Sparks Police officers or Washoe County Sheriff's deputies, but many Reno officers use them. Offiicals say its unclear how many, out of 370 officers, have one of these vests.
"They're concerned about a product that they had trust in, and is now a question mark," says Ron Donnelly, a Detective Lieutenant with the Reno Police Department. "It may or many not do what it was designed to do."
Donnelly says the problem with the body armor is the material inside which is called Zylon. Its popular with police officers, because its light-weight and more comfortable to wear. Its produced by Second Chance Body Armor - which happens to be the largest supplier in the country - and according to its own researchers, the vests may fail to perform, because Zylon wears out in hot and sweaty conditions.
"This Zylon material, over time, disintegrated at an unknown level and wouldn't stop a bullet," Donnelly says.
"This isn't the first time the Reno Police Department has had a problem with the company. They say concerns about Zylon were raised a few years ago when an officer was injured in the field. So the company came in and retrofitted all of the vests, but that didn't solve the problem.
"We thought we had this fixed 18 months ago."
Now they're back to square one, and have to immediately replace the vests which range in price from $400 to $1,200. They're not sure where the money will come from, but they do know it probably wont be coming from the company, because they've filed bankruptcy.
"It doesn't look good as far as recovering the loss. We'll file a claim just like probably lots of other departments in the United States will be."


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