A surprising number of officers killed and injured each year were wearing bulletproof vests that gave them comfort and mobility but left key body parts uncovered and vulnerable, national statistics show.
The bullet that tore through Clairton police Officer James Kuzak’s body Monday struck him in the left shoulder, just beyond the coverage of his protective vest, a virtually unavoidable danger officers face as they try to strike a balance between maneuverability and safety.
Officer Kuzak, 39, was in critical condition Wednesday at UPMC Mercy, and fellow officers said he was alert and talking. But others shot in the line of duty have not been so lucky. Thirty-three officers who were fatally shot in 2009 were wearing body armor, according to the most recent FBI statistics on the subject. Most were struck in the head, but others were hit in the neck, throat and upper torso.