Bullet that killed Deputy Selby struck in area not covered by bulletproof vest - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tony McNary

Bullet that killed Deputy Selby struck in area not covered by bulletproof vest

The bullet that killed Deputy George Selby struck him in an area that was not covered by his bulletproof vest. Depending on the job risks, the level of protection varies. Deputies go through training before hitting the streets. Part of that training involves the importance of their body armor, what most of us refer to as bullet proof vests. As we've been told, Deputy George Selby was wearing his vest. Police say he was wearing a full ballistics jacket vest which provides more protection than this standard issue vest, but unfortunately, the bullet hit him in this area that the vest does not cover.

That's why law enforcement officers rely heavily on their body armor, but unfortunately it doesn't give them 100-percent protection. Chief Joe Ruff, Shelby Co. Sheriff's Dept. said, "You can get a level of protection that will protect you from almost anything you will come across but it could be so bulky, so uncomfortable that you're just not going to wear it." Chief Ruff says Shelby County takes that into consideration when deciding what type of body armor to issue deputies. "It has to give them the mobility that they need to move quickly to defend themselves if they get into some kind of situation where they have to do that." Officers in special units such as the SWAT Team and narcotics officers wear this type of vest for entry. It covers more of the body and it provides more protection in the shoulder and the neck area and it's a lot heavier.

On the other hand, everyday patrol officers wear a vest that's a lot lighter and provides more mobility but offers less protection. "Yes in a way you give up a certain level of protection. You can't go up to the highest level of protection for everyday wear." Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Lea agrees. "Getting as much protection as we can and still do the job that we do is what we're looking for." Chief Ruff says the county is satisfied with the amount of protection officer's vests provide.

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