Moorhead police get vest upgrades
Moorhead police can now work with greater peace of mind. The department has replaced its bulletproof vests after tests showed the previous ones may not stop a bullet. Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch sued Second Chance Body Armor for selling...
Moorhead police can now work with greater peace of mind.
The department has replaced its bulletproof vests after tests showed the previous ones may not stop a bullet.
Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch sued Second Chance Body Armor for selling vests made of Zylon to officers in Moorhead and other cities, claiming the company knew its product was faulty.
Zylon-based vests deteriorate faster than expected when exposed to light, humidity and heat, the lawsuit claims.
Moorhead police tested a 4-year-old Zylon vest with a 40-caliber round at 15 feet and the vest held up, said Sgt. Chris Carey.
"Not all the vests are breaking down, but we don't want to take the gamble," Carey said. "We need to have something that consistently stops a bullet."
Moorhead police started ordering Zylon-based vests when they were introduced in 1998 because they were lightweight and comfortable, Carey said.
Second Chance, a Michigan body armor distributor, discontinued the Zylon vests in September 2003.
Moorhead's Police Department was unique because of the large number of Zylon vests it purchased, Carey said.
The department returned the faulty vests and purchased 38 new vests for $6,800. Without exchanging the old vests, the purchase would have cost $38,000, Carey said.
The federal government will reimburse the department for half of the cost, Carey said. If Minnesota wins the lawsuit, departments that had the vests will receive additional money.
The new vests are made of a blend of the material Kevlar, which is the old standard in body armor, Carey said.
The Clay County Sheriff's Department didn't purchase Zylon vests and didn't need to replace its vests, said Sheriff Bill Bergquist.
However, two members of the Sheriff's Department are former Moorhead police officers and are still using the faulty vests until new ones arrive, Bergquist said.
Fargo police purchase their vests from a Minneapolis distributor that did not sell Zylon, said Carol Carlisle, department quartermaster.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590