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Council explores mandating vests for Boston police

They can sometimes be a lifesaver for police officers who are shot at, but not all officers are required to wear a bulletproof vest.

They can sometimes be a lifesaver for police officers who are shot at, but not all officers are required to wear a bulletproof vest.

However, City Councilor Charles Yancey yesterday filed a proposal to change that practice and require all uniformed Boston police officers to wear the vests. Some detectives and superior officers would be exempt, as would those given special dispensation by the commissioner.

“I’m more concerned about the fact that once you put a uniform on there’s a target to people who potentially might confront the police department,” Yancey said.

In Boston, officers are provided with a vest, but are only required to wear it during their time in the police academy. Cambridge has a similar policy where officers are issued a vest, but wearing it is not mandated.

“Although Councilor Yancey is well-intended, Commissioner Davis believes that this issue belongs between the police administration and the police union,” said Elaine Driscoll, a BPD spokeswoman. “Recruits are required to wear their vests in the Academy with the intent of ensuring the proper fit, familiarizing them with wearing it and creating the positive habit that they will maintain throughout their career.”

Officers said the choice is a personal one and that the vest can sometimes be bulky or cumbersome with their equipment belt.

A police union official did not return a message.

 
 
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