Ever since Columbine and other mass shooting incidents, the responsibility of engaging an active shooter has shifted from SWAT to the first responder. Since time is the critical element, waiting for SWAT to mobilize and respond is not an option anymore. Immediate engagement by the first responder is now a must in order to save lives. Engaging without the proper training and equipment could result in an undesirable outcome to the victims as well as the first responders. Whether it is a school or workplace shooting, a terrorist incident or a lone wolf attack on our LEOs, the immediate action taken by the first responder will have a profound effect on the outcome. These incidents cannot be predicted nor eliminated, but well trained and equipped first responders can minimize casualties, including their own.
The initial idea for my clear Shields, especially the I.R. Shield, came when two Miami-Dade Warrants detectives were shot and killed on 01-20-2011 while serving on a US Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Miami. They were both shot in the head ambush style at close range. One was a family friend.
My 35 years of law enforcement experience was the foundation for creating my line of clear Shields and the two fallen Miami-Dade detectives was my motivation. I know what is needed and I know what will work, especially in today’s world. I believe that my Shields and Shield Mounting Systems can become an operational and safety standard for law enforcement across the country. If I can save just one LEO’s life, all my time and energy dedicated to creating these Shields will have been worthwhile. If you see a better product, buy it!
Usually one of the first questions asked about my Shields is, “can they stop rifle fire?” No! Neither can any Shield with a III-A rating. Level III Shields and higher are the only rifle rated Shields that will stop the 7.62 x 39mm and the 5.56 mm or .223 cal. rounds which are the most common ones. Level III Shields are usually very heavy and very expensive. However, even though our Shields are not rifle rated, we believe they have a better survival rate than any larger SWAT type III-A Shield. The hardness of our Shields has a tendency to redirect a rifle round depending on the caliber and angle created upon impact. Just like in explosives, a round has a tendency to take the path of least resistance. This redirection just may save your life! This is especially true with the small caliber .223 round traveling approx. 3200 ft. per second. This is in theory only, but if you know anything about ballistics, you will probably agree.
2016 was a deadly year for our LEOs. 64 LEOs were killed by gun fire which is an increase of almost 60% over 2015. This death toll seems to rise every year. Unfortunately, I believe this is going to be the norm and not the exception. Whether you want to believe it or not, there is a war on Cops and authority in this country! In order to help minimize this death toll, changes need to be made in police response, training and equipment. In order for this to take place, the mindset of the command staff needs to change. Most departments realize the problem but are doing very little or do not know how to confront this problem.
Before 2001, protecting airports with long guns and full auto weapons was unheard of in law enforcement. Look what’s happening today! Our LEOs are policing a lawless and ungrateful culture. There are many theories why this is happening and I am sure that each theory has some validity. In my opinion, it is the breakdown of family values such as lack of respect, responsibility and accountability. Until this mindset changes, law enforcement will continue to be a target. Until a positive law enforcement mindset is reestablished in this country, two primary changes need to take effect immediately. First, the command staff, line supervisors and the training staff should concentrate on minimizing foot pursuits; especially at night and in high crime areas. They are at the top of the list for LEOs getting hurt or killed. That’s what radios, perimeters, K-9, helicopters and crime labs are for. This is coming from a retired cop who has always chased. This rule would be hard for me to follow! Do as I say and not as I did!
Secondly, and most important, change needs to come in the form of equipment. 70 to 80% of our LEO’s deaths can be contributed to four primary calls:
- Traffic Stops
- Domestic Calls
- Suspicious Person Calls
- Suspicious Vehicle Calls
Hesitation on the LEO’s part or otherwise now known as the “Ferguson Effect,” can also be a factor. In most cases, when you hear of a LEO that was shot and killed it was either caused by rifle fire or a gunshot to the unprotected head or neck area. There has been no protective equipment for uniform LEOs to counter this threat until now!
It is now imperative for all uniform first responders to have additional protection beyond the ballistic vest. It comes in the form of our small I.R. Shield for head and neck protection. It is the only Shield that will make a difference. As far as importance, I would rank it 2nd to the LEO’s hand gun. It is not only a Shield; it is a: baton (impact weapon), light source, blocking tool and it stops bullets. It is small, easy to take along and quick to deploy. It is faster than attempting to draw your weapon when confronted by one. It is a defensive Shield for “any” unexpected assault. Its mere presence has a tendency to deescalate a potential violent situation. This Shield will not keep you from getting shot! It supplements the ballistic vest and protects the area that you do not want to get shot in. The combination of our small I.R. Shield and the ballistic vest, will give you a much greater chance for survival. There is no other tool; there is no other reasonable way! Let’s face it, if you have the misfortune of encountering an unexpected gun assault, you will have a bad day; with or without our Shield. Mett-t wants to make sure that it is not your last!
The primary reason that LEOs get killed when responding to these calls is “response time” toward an unexpected escalation of violence. Responding to these calls with “gun in hand” would, obviously be considered, “over the top.” However, not being able to respond in time to an ”unexpected escalation of violence” when a subject produces a gun, knife, etc., can be deadly. This is the primary reason for the high death toll and the main problem our LEOs are facing today. Uniform LEOs cannot out-draw a subject that produces an unexpected gun, knife, weapon, etc. That is why I created the I.R. Shield. It is a defensive “blocking tool” for any physical assault, up to and including assaults with a firearm. LEOs must have a defensive tool to survive any initial attack.
Ted Bradley – Clear Ballistic Shield Specialist
CEO / METT-T
Miami-Dade Police Department (Retired)