Police body armor: Survey shows what departments spend and supply in Colorado

As part of FOX31’s series of investigative stories, “Bulletproof,” the Problem Solvers surveyed 23 law enforcement departments across Colorado’s front range to see which departments spend the most to protect their cops with ballistic vests and what kind of body armor each department uses.

In the Denver metro area, Greeley police came out top spending more than $900 per officer and equipping it’s force not with just with a basic vest to stop handgun rounds, but a secondary vest to stop rifle rounds if they encounter an active shooter situation.

Commerce City has just upgraded it’s entire force with rifle-resistant gear and even provides its officers with bulletproof doors on the driver’s side.

But some departments don’t mandate body armor at all: Denver, Lakewood, Thornton and Adams County Sheriff.

More: See all the “Bulletproof” stories from the FOX31 Problem Solvers

Survey of 23 Departments

Below, you can see the complete breakdown of the 23 departments we surveyed. Click a department on the list or scroll down for all the details.

Adams County Sheriff
Arapahoe County Sheriff
Arvada Police
Aurora Police
Boulder Police
Boulder County Sheriff
Broomfield Police
Castle Rock Police
Colorado Springs Police
Commerce City Police
Denver Police
Douglas County Sheriff
El Paso County Sheriff
Fort Collins Police
Greeley Police
Jefferson County Sheriff
Lakewood Police
Larimer County Sheriff
Longmont Police
Loveland Police
Thornton Police
Weld County Sheriff
Westminster Police

Adams County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: No (Optional)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($845 Stipend)

Approved Brand of Vest: Safariland-Second Chance

Level of Vest: II or IIIA

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Arapahoe County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (Certain Members)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Budget Unknown/Agency Refused to Answer)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes

All other Questions Agency Refused to Answer

Arvada Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 183

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $727)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

All other Questions Agency Refused to Answer

Aurora Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($750)

Approved Brand of Vest: Officer Choice / No Policy

Level of Vest: Not Stated in Policy

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Notes: Optional Rifle Plate Kits at Level III or IV at Officer Expense

Boulder Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 196

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $800)

Approved Brand of Vest: Survival Armor, US Armor, Safariland, Armor Express, GH Armor Systems and Point Bland Armor.

Level of Vest: All Vests are Level II or Level IIIA

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Boulder County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 196

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($800)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: “Minimum by Policy”

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

*After this survey, the Boulder County Sheriff told FOX31 he is working with the non-profit SHIELD 616, various churches, and other organizations friendly to law enforcement on charitable donations for additional ballistics protection for his deputies.

Broomfield Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 161

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($699 Stipend)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: Level II

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes (K-9 only)

Notes: Detention officers required to have stab proof vest.

Castle Rock Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 87

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($900)

Approved Brand of Vest: “Variety”

Level of Vest: “Variety”

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Colorado Springs Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Sworn Positions and Community Service Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 765

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($755 “Full Cost”)

Approved Brand of Vest: Point Blank Alpha Elite Concealable Armor AXII

Level of Vest: Unknown

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes (For purchasing Tactical Vests and Helmets for “Active Shooter” events.

Commerce City Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All uniformed Patrol Officers on duty)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 105

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $850)

Approved Brand of Vest: Various

Level of Vest: Level IIIA

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Denver Police

Policy Requires Vest: No (Optional)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 280 Eligible

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($750 Stipend)

Approved Brand of Vest: “Approved List”

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer – cite “officer safety”)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Douglas County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: No (New Policy under review will require)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown (Agency did not reply)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Unknown (Agency did not reply

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency did not reply)

Level of Vest: Unknown (New policy will require level 3A)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes.

El Paso County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Uniformed Officers on Duty)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 526

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Unknown Amount/Stipend Agency Refused to Answer)

Approved Brand of Vest: Point Blank Alpha Elite Series Concealable Armor

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes

All other Questions Agency Refused to Answer

Fort Collins Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 217

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($700)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Notes: Agency States: “Officers outfitted with a reputable and reliable brand of body armor that meets or exceeds the standards of the NIJ”

Greeley Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All uniformed Patrol Officers and Supervisors)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 150

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $920)

Approved Brand of Vest: Accushape

Level of Vest: Level IIIA

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Notes: Level IV “Molle Sheeter Kit” in trunk of each patrol vehicle for “active shooter” situations. Police Chief Jerry Garner recognized expert on Body Armor.

Jefferson County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Sworn Personnel in Field)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 541

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $750)

Approved Brand of Vest: Survival Armor / US Armor

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Notes: Failure to wear Armor considered “Misconduct” SWAT Team members outfitted with higher level of protection.

Lakewood Police

Policy Requires Vest: No (Optional)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($700 Stipend)

Approved Brand of Vest: Galls- Denver

Level of Vest: Agency “does not monitor employee choices”

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes, will accept donations through the Shield616 program

Larimer County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($700 Officers pay any additional)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Notes: Rifle plates and ballistic helmets purchased for Deputies following Planned Parenthood shooting (November 27, 2015)

Longmont Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 161

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($800-$1000 Stipend)

Approved Brand of Vest: Various Safariland, American Body Armor, Protect, Second Chance, Point Blank

Level of Vest: Level II (minimum)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: Yes (National Institute of Justice Vest Partnership Grants 50% discount)

Notes: Tactical $3500 plates: “Tactical vest have additional features, such as pull-down groin protection, shoulder protection and rifle plates.”

Loveland Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 108

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $909)

Approved Brand of Vest: Various

Level of Vest: Level IIIA

Does Law Enforcement: Angel Armor, Safariland, Point Blank

Notes: Recently required Level II Vests. Currently Level IIIA is Required

Thornton Police

Policy Requires Vest: No (“Officers are Encouraged”)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 250

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($800)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Weld County Sheriff

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All uniformed patrol, court and transportation Officers)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: 114

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes (Up to $775)

Approved Brand of Vest: Armor Express

Level of Vest: Level IIIA

Does Law Enforcement agency accept charitable donations for Vests: No

Notes: Undercover Officers must sign a release before going on-duty without wearing a vest.

Westminster Police

Policy Requires Vest: Yes (All Uniformed Officers on Duty)

Number of Employees Wearing Vests: Unknown

Does Law Enforcement Agency Contribute to or Purchase Vests for Officers: Yes ($700)

Approved Brand of Vest: Unknown (Agency Refused to Answer)

Level of Vest: National Institute of Justice Minimum

Does Law Enforcement Agency Accept Charitable Donations for Vests: No

Notes: Rifle plate optional Level III or higher

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