On December 9, 2013, DAPO issued Directive 13-14 (Wearing of Ballistic Vest), which established that “Effective immediately, State-issued ballistic vests shall be worn by all DAPO peace officer staff during range qualification and while engaged in field activities; i.e., conducting home visits, conducting collateral contacts, attempting to locate or make contact with a parolee, or participate in any law enforcement activity.” In doing so, DAPO took the discretion away from agents to wear soft body armor during the normal day-to-day functions, as provided by DOM.
Our position is that the directive violates DOM, is an illegal mandate, is overly broad, causes an undue financial hardship to our members (i.e., purchase of clothing large enough to conceal body armor), and poses a significant safety risk to parole agents wearing body armor in plainclothes in the field. Additionally, there appears to be issues with respect to the fitting and ability of some members to access safety equipment as it relates to the vests that are currently issued. If you find these or other issues are problematic, contact your Regional Representatives (see Board Members list) immediately so your concerns can be addressed.
On January 16, 2014, a class action grievance was filed to address the problems identified with the issuance of Directive 13-14. Updates will be provided as the grievance moves through the process. Be safe!