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Question of protection: Can more be done to keep law enforcement safe?

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MILWAUKEE -- We're learning more about the protective vest State Trooper Trevor Casper wore the day he died in a shootout in Fond du Lac. Officials say a bullet went through the protective vest he was wearing. So, is there anything better to protect law enforcement?

17 seconds, 21 shots -- the Fond du Lac district attorney says three of the nine shots fired by Steven Snyder on March 24th, hit Trooper Trevor Casper in the hand, neck and one went through his vest.

Trevor Casper

Trevor Casper

"All of the rounds fired by the suspect in Fond du Lac were traced back to the suspect's FNH 5.7 semi-automatic pistol. These rounds were armor-piercing," said Eric Toney, Fond du Lac County District Attorney.

"From what I read in the report, they weren't the armor-piercing that we know in the law enforcement community. They just reference them as armor-piercing because they did penetrate body armor," said Brian Dorow, Dean of Criminal Justice/Homeland Security at Waukesha County Technical College.

Brian Dorow says there are many factors that could play into why it went through, but one could be the type of gun.

"You don't come across the gun on a regular basis, and it was similar to the gun that was used to the gun that was used in the Fort Hood incident a couple years back," said Dorow.

"You have to weigh the ability to function as a law enforcement officer out there versus wearing that type of protective armor," said Lieutenant Colonial Brian Rahn, Wisconsin State Patrol.

Bulletproof vest

Bulletproof vest

There are heavier vests out there...

"These are for when your SWAT teams are going and doing search warrants or riot control," said Dorow.

However, even those vests he says don't protect against everything.

"When you start adding high powered rifles, when you start adding high velocity rounds, that's a game changer when it comes to a bulletproof vest," said Dorow.

The vests look a lot different than they did five years ago. They continue to make changes to protect the officers, but despite all the advancements, officer safety continues to be a big concern.


  • Dagobert II

    Perhaps the best practice that would promote the safety of law enforcement would be to reconsider what gets enforced. Enforcement action should only be taken where there has been a crime and anything considered a crime should require that some person have been victimized. No victim, no crime, no enforcement, no risk to law enforcement.

  • lena

    Unfortunately , the MPD needs to start wearing war gear. They are in a war zone everyday now. Pray for them.

      • Reasonless

        I take offence to your comment.
        You just degraded turds.
        Avery doesn’t come close to having the class and social skills of a turd.

    • Averys dad

      10:1 odds avery’s dad is either in prison or unknown to him.

      I get why you are upset, but don’t get mad at the world for your moms decisions.

      God bless

    • Dagobert II

      Avery does have a point. SCOTUS has already ruled that police have no duty to protect any citizen so who, then, do they serve? My conclusion is that the police serve and protect the government from the people.

  • greg

    The 5.7 round in all common ammo sold at stores is the equivelent of a 22 magnum with a spitzer bullet. None of the common ammo will penetrate standard issue body armor (unless it hits a area that the kevlar is thinner/not there). There is a steel cored ammo that is legal to purchase however FNH will not sell it outside of law enforcement and it is very hard to get (and expensive). In a pistol the bullet will barely penetrate police body armor due to the loss in velocity vs a rifle. My guess is the bullet barely penetrated the vest itself or hit a area not properly protected

    Unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done to make law enforcement vests more capable of stopping bullets at this point, without major setbacks. The next level of protection requires hardplates and limits movement/adds weight/even hotter/etc. ITs also important to remember that all common deer hunting cartridges will penetrate the front of the vest, the person, and the back of the vest with little to no problem. Its impratical for a officer to wear a swat style vest that might stop a 30-06 nor is it really needed since its a rarity for a officer to be shot at with a rifle (including ar15s).

  • James

    OK… that round is illegal to own if not purchased before a certain date… and the FN 5.7 is just is NOT seen on the street… it is a large frame and the rounds are silly expensive… let alone the fact that a beat cop wears soft armor which will often defeat the non black tip 5.7 rounds… so this is a rather silly question?

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