U.S. Senators Katie Britt, Gary Peters Announce Bipartisan Bill to Equip Female DHS Officers with Next Generation Body Armor Technology Advanced in Senate

May 16, 2024

WASHINGTOND.C., May 16, 2024 — U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced their bipartisan legislation to provide next generation body armor tailored to best meet the coverage, fit, and functionality needs of female law enforcement personnel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has advanced in the Senate.

The bill would require all agencies under DHS to provide law enforcement personnel with appropriately fitting improved ballistic body armor to keep them safe.

This legislation was reported favorably by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.  

“This National Police Week and throughout the year, I am proud to support the courageous women of the Department of Homeland Security who selflessly protect and serve our nation with distinction,” said Senator Britt. “Just as they safeguard our homeland, they deserve equipment that will keep them safe in the line of duty. I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for advancing this commonsense piece of legislation that will help our DHS law enforcement officers return home to their family at the end of every day.”

“The brave men and women who are risking their lives to keep us safe deserve to have protective body armor that fits correctly to keep them safe. My bill will ensure that all officers, regardless of gender or body type, will have access to the most advanced and effective safety equipment,” said Senator Peters. “We must update these outdated policies to ensure federal law enforcement officers are safe, and I’m proud my committee approved this important bill as we honor the officers who risk their lives to protect our communities during National Police Week.”

In 2022, the FBI conducted ballistic testing using updated procedures and improved body molds that accounted for different body types. The testing found that the commonly used body armor, when tested on a female and certain male molds, was vulnerable to a bullet, or other projectile, ricocheting off the top center of the front armor panel and into the throat area, which could kill an officer. Since the testing, improved ballistic body armor has been created and is available, but DHS does not provide this potentially life-saving body armor to their officers.  

The bipartisan DHS Better Ballistic Body Armor Act would require all agencies under DHS to provide their female law enforcement officers, and any law enforcement personnel, with improved ballistic body armor to better protect them in the line of duty.

The full text of the bill can be found here.