High School Student 3D Prints Face Shields for Law Enforcement, Others

Introducing Project Face Shield! The CSA, CPS, and local 16-year-old future engineer Konnar Jones is switching from respirators to making face shields. Hospitals and first responders are asking for these shields – 5,000 or more are needed. The group is also asking other local 3D print owners to join them in their efforts. The website with the shield files is attached. The group is also  working on protocol for getting the shields shipped to them for distribution. Information will be posted soon on the Columbia STEM Alliance website…
Http://www.columbiastemalliance.com

https://www.prusa3d.com/covid19/

 

Healthcare providers biggest challenge is still a shortage of personal protective equipment.

One Columbia high school student saw the need in the community and he printed a solution.

Konnar Jones is 3D printing face shields to donate to hospitals and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic.

He prints 30 face shields a day with 24/7 printing. Jones said he had to go through several design changes.

“It’s just hours and days worth of changes,” Jones said.

He’s working with Executive Director of the Columbia Stem Alliance Craig Adams. Their goal is to print 6,000 face shields.

Adams said the hard part is finding things like elastic, and the acetate material for the visor.

“It’s an awesome feeling to be able to help people. My family is a law enforcement family. So that’s just what we do. I’m finally being able to help people with the skills that I have. It’s just rewarding and I love it,” Jones said.

Adams said Jones has been 3D printing since the fifth grade.

“It’s impressive. He’s a really special individual. He was driven from an early age to do this. He’s got some great training from the career center and the classes he’s taken,” Adams said.

Adams said he doesn’t look at Jones as a 16 year old anymore. He said he views Jones as a colleague.

“Its phenomenal to see what somebody can do when they’ve got the skill and they’ve got the motivation and the curiosity that it takes to do that,” Adams said.

Jones said he would like more people to join the project.

If you’d like to donate money, materials or 3D print face shields reach out to Craig Adams craigadams1965@gmail.com.

For more information please visit Columbia Stem Alliance’s website and Facebook page.The grou

Hospitals Now Allowed to Share COVID-19 Patient Info with First Responders

An FDNY provider wears personal protective equipment outside a COVID-19 testing site at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have long resisted sharing any protected health information (PHI) about patients with their public safety partners – even when sharing that important information was permissible under HIPAA. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (which enforces HIPAA) has issued important guidance to those facilities that should help clear the ​​way for better information sharing about COVID-19 infected patients with law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and EMS agencies.

The March 24, 2020, guidance clarifies that the HIPAA privacy rule permits a covered entity (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities) to disclose the PHI of an individual who has been infected with or exposed to, COVID-19, with law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders and public health authorities. The circumstances described in the guidance are exceptions to the general rule that covered entities may not disclose PHI to others without authorization of the patient and are not new – they’ve always been in the regulations:

  • When the disclosure is needed to provide treatment. Permits disclosure of PHI about an individual who has COVID-19 to EMS personnel who will provide treatment while transporting the patient to a hospital emergency department or other location.
  • When notification is required by law. Permits disclose of PHI about an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 in accordance with a state law requiring the reporting of confirmed or suspected cases of infectious disease to public health officials.
  • To notify a public health authority in order to prevent or control the spread of disease. Permits disclosure of PHI to a public health authority (such as the CDC, or state, tribal, local and territorial public health departments) that is authorized by law to collect or receive PHI for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, including for public health surveillance, public health investigations and public health interventions.
  • When first responders may be at risk of infection. Permits disclosure of PHI to a first responder who may have been exposed to COVID-19, or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, if the covered entity is authorized by law to notify persons as necessary in the conduct of a public health intervention or investigation. HIPAA permits a county health department to disclose PHI to a police officer or other person who may have had contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, for purposes of preventing or controlling the spread of COVID-19.

When the disclosure of PHI to first responders is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public. This exception has not been used often under HIPAA as it is ordinarily a rare occurrence when it would be invoked – rare until now that is, with a nationwide pandemic of a dangerous and highly contagious virus! This exception permits disclosure of PHI to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public, when the disclosure is made to someone they believe can prevent or lessen the threat, which may include the target of the threat.

This exception permits a covered entity, consistent with applicable law and standards of ethical conduct, to disclose PHI about patients – who have tested positive for COVID-19 – to fire department personnel, paramedics, EMTs, ambulance services and others charged with protecting the health or safety of the public. To make the disclosure, the covered entity must have a good faith belief that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or minimize the threat of imminent exposure to such personnel in the discharge of their duties. This exception gives hospitals and any medical facility receiving an EMS patient the authority to share with that EMS agency and its personnel who transported the patient whether the patient was a positive COVID-19 patient, without the authorization of the patient.

ONLY SHARE PRIVATE HEALTH INFORMATION THAT IS NECESSARY TO SHARE

One important consideration, as explained in the guidance, is that except when required by law or for treatment disclosures, a covered entity must make reasonable efforts to limit the information disclosed to that which is the “minimum necessary” amount to accomplish the purpose for the disclosure. For example, in sharing PHI about a positive COVID-19 patient, it would likely not be necessary to share information about the patient’s other diagnoses or non-contagious medical conditions.

THE HIPAA GUIDANCE PROVIDES REAL-LIFE EMS EXAMPLES

OCR specifically uses two common EMS examples in explaining the regulations:

Example 1: A covered entity, such as a hospital, may provide a list of the names and addresses of all individuals it knows to have tested positive, or received treatment, for COVID-19 to an EMS dispatch [center] for use on a per-call basis. The EMS dispatch [center] would be allowed to use information on the list to inform EMS personnel who are responding to any particular emergency call so that they can take extra precautions or use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Under this example, the OCR states that a covered entity should not post the contents of such a list publicly, like on the EMS agency’s website or through distribution to the media. A covered entity also should not distribute compiled lists of individuals who are COVID-19 positive to EMS personnel. Instead, it should disclose only an individual patient’s information on a “per-call basis.” Sharing the lists or disclosing them publicly would not ordinarily constitute the minimum necessary amount of information to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure (i.e., protecting the health and safety of the first responders from infectious disease for each particular call).

Example 2: A 911 call center may ask screening questions of all callers, for example, their temperature, or whether they have a cough or difficulty breathing, to identify potential cases of COVID-19. The call center is permitted to inform a police officer being dispatched to the scene of the name, address and screening results of the persons who may be encountered so that the officer can take extra precautions or use PPE to lessen the officer’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, even if the subject of the dispatch is for a non-medical situation and even if the dispatch center is a covered entity under HIPAA. (And most public agency 911 centers are not covered entities under HIPAA, so the HIPAA regulations would likely not apply to them).

This example would most certainly permit a situation where the 911 center shared essential information about a COVID-19 patient with any responding EMS or first responder entity. But what information may be shared with first responders and EMS? The minimum amount of information that would be necessary so that responders may take appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of exposure, such as PPE including masks and face shields. OCR says this may also include the patient’s name and the results of their COVID-19 screening.

HOSPITALS MAY SHARE PRIVATE HEALTH INFORMATION WITH EMS

These rules and the guidance are very helpful in ensuring that EMS agencies have access to essential information about contagious patients they transport. They help take away the “hide behind HIPAA” approach that some hospitals and facilities have followed to completely shut down any sharing of patient information with EMS. The problem is that this is a permissive regulation – meaning that hospitals “may” share this PHI with EMS – but they are not required to do so.

ENTER RYAN WHITE

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 is a federal law named in honor of an Indiana teenager who lost his life to AIDS after contracting the disease through a tainted blood transfusion. The act requires a medical facility to notify, upon request, an emergency response agency if a patient transported by that agency to the medical facility is diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening infectious disease. The notification provisions are now contained in the Public Health Services Law of 2019, Title 26, Part G. It’s been applied in the context of AIDS, Ebola and SARS in the past.

But does the Ryan White Law apply to hospitals and this COVID-19 pandemic? We believe that it does – and so does nationally known EMS infection control expert and author Katherine West, BSN, MSEd. According to West, “COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is in the SARS-CoV family. SARS-CoV and Novel Influenza A viruses are on the CDC list of Potentially Life-Threatening Infectious Diseases: Routinely Transmitted Through Aerosolized Droplet Means which we believe would encompass this novel coronavirus. As such, we believe COVID-19 notifications would be covered by the Ryan White Law.” In that case, West explains, “hospitals would be required to notify the EMS agency designated infection control officer, and then that officer would need to determine whether an exposure to EMS agency personnel actually occurred.”

To help ensure the health and safety of all personnel, EMS agencies should make sure that all pertinent assessment and medical history information is thoroughly documented on the patient care report – especially any signs or symptoms that a patient may have that could indicate active or potential infection with the COVID-19 disease. All EMS field personnel must promptly report a potential COVID-19 patient exposure to a supervisor as well as hospital personnel. Hopefully, with better knowledge about what’s permitted under HIPAA, combined with an understanding of the need to share COVID-19 patient information with EMS providers, hospitals and medical facilities can do the right thing to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the EMS community.

The OCR Guidance can be found here.

 
By Steve Wirth, Esq., EMT-P | Policeone.com 

Sheriffs Carry the Concerns of their Citizens to the Capitol

Fifty-some sheriffs visited the state capitol March 12 to remind lawmakers that the challenges facing the sheriffs are real, that something needs to be done and that they need legislators’ help to make the needed changes.

​​Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish, the president of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, told the group of legislators and media representatives gathered in the House of Representatives Lounge that 2019 may go down in history as one of the worst years for sheriffs who are attempting to enforce the rule of law and protect the local law-abiding tax payers they serve.

“Sheriffs have been concerned many years – 2019 was just the culmination that the justice system has become too offender-centered. Some well-intentioned people have become too focused on those committing the crimes while not necessarily focusing on the neighborhoods they are affecting and the victims the sheriffs are committed to fighting for,” he said.

Sheriff Parrish summarized some of the challenges they’re facing:

▪ In March, 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that board bills should not be considered court costs – even though that had been the practice for 100 years.

▪ The Missouri Bond Reform, which was ordered December 2018 and became effective July 1, 2019, prohibits judges from keeping defendants in jail if they can’t afford bail. Instead, those defendants, many of whom are “career criminals,” are to be released on their own signature with only a ticket, which, according to sheriffs, allows them to continue to victimize their communities.

▪ State statute requires sheriffs to accept prisoners or face a misdemeanor, and the state is to reimburse counties $22.58 per day for holding those prisoners. However, Missouri is falling further and further behind in paying the jail per diems. As of December 2019, the state owed counties – and ultimately county taxpayers – an estimated $33.4 million.

▪ Sheriffs are at odds with the Missouri Department of Corrections because those sheriffs believe once an offender is sentenced to prison, he or she should not on Day 1 be considered for conditional early release. In many cases, inmates are serving one to three months per year sentenced.

Sheriff Parrish said they hear too often “’What is wrong with society?’ and ‘Why doesn’t society do more for the career criminal?’ We say they can’t afford court costs, we say they can’t afford the board bill, we say they can’t be in jail very long instead of just reminding ourselves that there’s a very simple way – a very simple way – to not have to do those things. Don’t violate the law. I know our constituents believe that if someone does violate the law, we should be firm and fair but also hold them accountable.”

Cape Girardeau County Sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson went into more detail about jail per diems.

“We, as sheriffs, hear from our citizens every day about how we are handling our budgets – their tax dollars,” she said, reminding those present that their citizens, their constituents, their voters were the same citizens, constituents and voters that the legislators represent. “And they want to know how you are handling their tax dollars. When the state does not pay its bills, it affects not only the sheriffs but the citizens in the lost revenues to our communities.”

Sheriff Dickerson explained that although the rate has fluctuated over the years, since 1976, the state, under Missouri Statute 221.105 has paid per diem for all inmates housed in county jails.

“The state acknowledges that their daily cost for handling inmates is $65 a day. The state allows its own employees a per diem for meals of $34 a day. But the per diem of inmates is just $22.58. The state is also using local jails to hold parole offenders. It used to be that if someone violated their parole, they immediately went back to the Department of Corrections. Today those offenders are staying in the county jails waiting on hearings, waiting on the steps the Department of Corrections will take many times to be released back into the community without any further sentencing or time.”

Sheriff Dickerson also said 1996 was the last time the Missouri legislature and the governor’s office officially recognized that public safety is a partnership between the local, county and state government. Since that time, funding has been directed at other programs, causing the arrearage to grow. She produced a study conducted in 2010 by the National Association of Counties refuting DOC statements that Missouri is the only state that charges room and board. Instead, although different formulas are used, every state pays per diem. She also said a 2015 program evaluation of county per diem payments completed by the DOC showed they had studied the issue, although its officials claimed otherwise.

“The state funding must be appropriated to pay the bills owed by the state and the per diem should be the responsibility of the state,” she said.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott spoke next, discussing concerns about the direction taken by the DOC and the Division of Probation and Parole.

“Probation issues are a continued failure from the top of this organization. Our local P&P officers’ hands are being tied by not being able to recommend revocation. I talked to our circuit judge about three hours ago. He told me he sees offenders with 15 to 20 violations with no recommendation for revocation from Probation and Parole. We have proof that offenders are going to the P&P office, taking urine tests, showing positive for methamphetamine, then they simply walk out the door, get into a vehicle and drive off. This is a public safety issue. This puts Missouri’s citizens’ lives in danger every day,” he said, reiterating that those scenarios were not the fault of the P&P officer but rather from leadership in the DOC.

Sheriff Arnott also criticized the practice of rewarding parolees with gift cards for showing up on time at appointments.

“This is ridiculous! Do you know what the reward is? Not being locked up in jail and not going to prison. This philosophy has to change. If we want to hand out gift cards, let’s give them to Missourians who have been victimized – not criminals. We must remember that our entire justice system is based around taking care of victims. We want our message to be clear. Missouri’s sheriffs will continue to be vigilant and tough on crime but legislators, we need your assistance to change the philosophy of this department,” he said.

Johnson County Sheriff Scott Munsterman addressed the group next, talking about bond reform.

“In the reform, they labeled drugs and drug offenders as ‘non-violent crime.’ I disagree. Drug offenders are not only a danger to themselves, they are also a danger to the communities we represent. During investigations of crimes in our communities, we’re dealing with drug offenders every day and see that they’re tied in with burglaries, car larcenies, and simple property crimes. Drug offenders are utilizing citizens’ assets to help supplement their addiction,” he said, adding that although they arrest the offenders, reforms require sheriffs to simply issue a summons to appear in court and then release them back into the community where they continue to reoffend.

And individuals are not following through and showing up in court. Sheriff Munsterman said since the new rules went into effect, the failure to appear rate in Johnson County has increased 28 percent. In neighboring Cass County, that number jumped 48 percent.

He closed by sharing a statement from a friend that “non-violent” does not mean “non-dangerous,” stressing that those who were breaking into cars and homes to steal and supplement their drug addictions were dangerous and needed to be behind bars.

“To sum up, we are here to protect the local law-abiding tax payer,” Sheriff Parrish said, adding that sheriffs recognize and respect those who are assisting offenders in becoming better citizens. “But the pendulum has swung too far. It’s very simple to not have to follow any guidelines. Follow the law.”
 
By Nancy Zoellner

Missouri Sheriffs Rally at the State Capitol in Jefferson City

Some 50 sheriffs stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Missouri’s capitol on Wednesday, saying the new rules from the Missouri Supreme Court must change – and that they needed lawmakers’ help in accomplishing that.

The sheriffs shared how the new rules favor criminals instead of Missouri’s law-abiding citizens and reminded lawmakers that the justice system was based on taking care of victims.

Sheriffs also discussed how the state has fallen behind in payment of jail per diems – to the tune of $33.4 million as of December 2019.

Youth Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign Kicks Off Soon

Seat Belt Check!

Going somewhere? Make sure you’re buckled up and hold others accountable to buckle up as well. Every trip. Every time.

Law enforcement will be cracking down on unbelted drivers during this campaign March 15 – 31.

Under the Graduated Driver License Law, teens from age 15-18 are required to wear their seat belt and it’s a primary offense if they don’t, meaning they can be pulled over solely for not wearing their seat belt.

Based on the 2018 seat belt survey, teen use in Missouri is only 74 percent, much lower than state (87 percent) and national (91 percent) seat belt use.

Missouri has seven schools with a seat belt usage rate of 50 percent or less and 30 schools with a rate of 60 percent or less.

STATS

100 Percent of teen impaired drivers killed in 2017 were unbuckled.

688 Teens were killed or seriously injured in crashes in 2017.

42 Percent – The amount a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury.

70 Percent of teen vehicle occupant fatalities were unbuckled in 2017.

Three schools from the Missouri Coalition for Safety Central District were recently given awards for their exceptional participation in the “It Only Takes One campaign. Eugene High School and Calvary Lutheran High School had 100% Buckle Up participation from staff and students and Iberia High School had over 95% Buckled Up. Each school participated in Safety Belt checks unknown to those coming into the lots more than twice during the campaign. Each school received a Certificate of Completion, a $500 Safety Grant and a Banner to proudly hang in their gym.

State Could Require Missouri School Districts to Have Armed Resource Officers

State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on May 17, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)​.​


Missouri public school districts could be required to have at least one armed officer in every building during normal school hours. The House Elementary and Secondary Education committee is considering the bill sponsored by State Representative Nick Schroer, R​​-O’Fallon. It would also have retired police officers, educators, military members or veterans, or volunteers serve in the paid or unpaid roles. Under the proposed mandate, the individuals would have to complete training prior to starting.

“I don’t think every Tom, Dick and Harry should be tasked with looking out for the kids, making sure certain situations don’t arise, looking out for the safety of the entire staff. I think that you need somebody who’s armed and trained in these situations,” says Schroer.

During a public hearing, Representative Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, says he backs the measure.

“I think we should try and do everything we can to make sure our children are as safe as possible,” says Basye.

Representative Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, a lifelong educator, says she wants the bill to go a step further.

“Some of the most heated times that we’ve had, where I was truly concerned about behavior or somebody being violent was at ball games, when you have those extracurricular kinds of times,” she says.

The legislation would put an administrator’s or employee’s job in jeopardy if they fail to ensure that an armed officer is on duty.

“I don’t see why any school district, even though we have 60% of them so far that have RSOs, why would they go the extra mile to ensure the safety of their children if they’re not required to and there were penalties if they didn’t do so,” says Schroer.

Otto Fagin, speaking on behalf of the Missouri National Education Association, says local school boards should decide about armed resource officers – not the state.

“We have concerns that when you create this mandate, but there’s no funding attached with it, which may be an Article 10 violation, that creates a pressure for the school districts,” says Fagin. “Do we cut staff in other areas so that we can have school resource officers? The governor’s safety task force – they talk about the best solutions designed through local governance and that one size doesn’t fit all and we agree with that very strongly. That’s why we have concerns about a bill that mandates this. We would probably have no objection whatsoever if the state were wanting to invest in supporting school districts having more access to resource officers in every school.”

Moms Demand Action member Cathy Gilbert of St. Louis County raised other concerns.

“Most school violence is not the mass shootings that we see at Parkland or Sandy Hook. Most of those incidents – 78% – are guns brought to school by students from home,” says Gilbert. So, we need to ensure that parents are aware that safe storage is a critical factor in keeping their children safe.”

The state has 518 public school districts and about 2,400 school buildings.

The committee has not yet voted on House Bill 1961.

 
​By Alisa Nelson | Missourinet.com​

Sheriff Lends Support to Increased Police Chase Penalties

Missouri state lawmakers heard testimony Monday on a bill that would make all police chases felonies.

Right now a majority end up being classified as misdemeanors and usually don’t lead to additional penalties on top of the charges the suspect is running from.

Quasheena Cadenhead was charged Monday in Cass County for leading deputies on a chase at speeds that topped 100 mph while going the wrong way down Interstate 49. A deputy who brought the chase to an end as she exited on an entrance ramp was injured.

Sheriff Jeff Weber said if it weren’t for the deputy’s injuries, ​​Cadenhead may have only faced a misdemeanor in the wild chase.

In 1995, Cass County Dep. Jeff Mayse was chasing a suspect on a rural Cass County road when he slammed into a tree.

“I just remember the next days just feeling numb, knowing my life was never going to be the same,” his daughter Brandy Whitten said.

Whitten was 12 when Mayse was killed, her little sister was born 4 weeks later, but never got to meet the man who wore badge 619.

A Missouri legislator introduced House Bill 619 last year to strengthen penalties for running from the law, but it never picked up traction.

On Monday, one day after one of his deputies was injured in a high-speed pursuit, Weber testified in favor of this year’s version, House Bill 1620.

“It’s been our experience that individuals who run once, run twice, three, four times. They do it all the time, and we’ve trained them to do that,” he said.

Weber wants the line in Missouri statue that says it’s a misdemeanor “unless the person fleeing creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death” eliminated and replaced with a Class E felony.

“We are just gambling. We are letting them out on a signature bond to continue to do these things until someone finally gets hurt,” Weber said.

Or in the case of Jeff Mayse, killed in the line of duty. His daughter said it should be simple.

“There’s no reason to injure anyone else or yourselves, injure someone else that’s in the path or put the deputies’ lives on the line. They are doing their job, just pull over,” Whitten said.

​​But according to Weber, suspects aren’t the getting the message. He said chases in the county have become almost a daily occurrence.

A deputy injured in a chase in September only returned to duty Friday. There’s no telling when the deputy who stopped Sunday’s wrong-way, speeding suspect will be back to work.

Kansas law is similar to Missouri’s right now, though it makes a third arrest for fleeing and eluding an automatic felony.

By Dave D’Marko | Fox 4 KC

The safest place to be in a vehicle ambush attack

​Many people fail to recognize that angled, windshield glass is a formidable obstacle. (Photo/Houston Police)​Have a plan, should you come under attack when in a vehicle. 

In any given year, roughly half of all police-involved shootings take place from or around vehicles. More recently, we have seen a dramatic spike in incidents where law enforcement officers ​​have been the victims of unprovoked attacks while sitting in their marked vehicles.

This disturbing trend has caused those of us involved in training to take a hard look at how we are preparing our officers for the possibility of an ambush attack. A logical first step is revisiting the topic of mindset and mental conditioning. The harsh reality is bad things often happen to good people and law enforcement officers need to come to terms with the fact that they could be targeted for attack.

STAYING SWITCHED ON

Awareness is the first cornerstone of a positive mindset and many such ambush incidents can be averted if we stay switched on. I recognize, of course, it is especially difficult to maintain a constant state of Condition Yellow over the course of a long day and we simply can’t view every citizen we come in contact with as a deadly threat. Although a great many citizen interactions might be best categorized as service calls, keep that radar up. Recognize that situations can flip in the blink of an eye and trust your sixth sense. If things don’t seem right, they probably aren’t.

Sound tactics, while in the vehicle, are yet another component of the safety net. If an attack is imminent or ongoing, drive away. But what if an obstacle or traffic makes this impossible? What if the threat is just a few feet away and is bringing his or her weapon to bear?

TESTING DEFENSE TACTICS

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an eight-hour program on vehicle defense tactics which was sponsored by the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors. This block of instruction focused on how to effectively fire from a vehicle, exit the kill zone and exactly what parts of contemporary vehicles represent true cover. We were also afforded the opportunity to fire a few different rounds utilized for law enforcement applications at vehicles and to assess the results.

Many diverse materials make up modern vehicles, including various types of metal, plastic, rubber and glass. It’s probably a safe bet that today’s cars are smaller and lighter than the heavy metal American-made cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s. We were all curious to see exactly what, if any, protection a vehicle could provide against incoming fire.

First, let’s consider glass. Many people fail to recognize that angled, windshield glass is a formidable obstacle. Windshields are made of laminated glass and a bullet impact will cause it to crack and spider web, but not shatter. Windshields often play havoc with bullet performance and results could include jacket/core separation, deflection from the point of aim and inconsistent expansion qualities. Side windows are made of tempered glass and a single bullet impact will typically cause them to shatter.

During the seminar, a few different handgun, rifle and shotgun rounds were fired at vehicle windshields and doors. A target was placed on the passenger seat to determine if the rounds fired deviated from the point of aim. It should hardly be a surprise that all the rounds fired penetrated and struck the target. Both a non-bonded 9mm jacketed hollowpoint and a .223 Remington soft point exhibited signs of jacket failure, but still struck the targets. Handgun rounds featuring a bonded bullet, rifled slugs and a .223 Remington round traveled true to the target without any issues.

Firing at an open door did produce some surprising results. A casual observer might consider that the sheet metal of a car door wouldn’t be much of a barrier, but there is a lot more to the door than meets the eye. Car doors contain windows, electric motors, locks, brake stays, lift mechanisms, as well as inner panels and arm rests.

In the test, four different handgun rounds were fired from a distance of 10 yards at a door open approximately 45 degrees. Rounds included two examples each of 9mm and .45 ACP, with both bonded and non-bonded bullets. A single example of each round was fired at the open door.

The most surprising result was that none of the handgun rounds penetrated the door. This was by no means an exhaustive test nor am I suggesting that car doors are bulletproof. But based on this informal test, and what we’ve witnessed in actual police action shootings, even the best handgun rounds are “iffy” penetrators on car doors. On the other hand, both the .223 Remington rounds and 12-gauge rifled slugs  easily penetrated the door.

TAKEAWAYS FROM TESTING TACTICS

So what can we learn here? While not true cover, a door might provide some limited ballistic protection in a frontal attack. Exit the kill zone, stay low and move to better cover at the rear of the car and beyond. Doors provide absolutely no protection from centerfire rifle rounds and shotgun slugs. But this cuts both ways. If you absolutely need to get inside a motor vehicle by punching through a door or windshield, rifled slugs have no peer. For rifles, consider one of the popular barrier breaching rounds from the major manufacturers.

If you have to shoot through the windshield while sealed behind the wheel, a well-designed bullet will punch through the glass, track true and expand when it strikes the threat. Again, premium quality rounds specifically designed for law enforcement applications are readily available and performance is light years beyond what it was a generation ago.

True cover in a vehicle remains the engine block and brake drums. But taking a good defendable position behind them can be difficult. If and when possible, move to better cover away from your vehicle. At the very least, your vehicle could provide you with a measure of concealment.

Have a plan, should you come under attack when in a vehicle. Get yourself in a defendable position as soon as possible and take the fight to the assailant. That might include firing through the side windows or windshield. When working with a partner or backup, those timeless concepts of cover and contact still ring true. Define those roles and make sure somebody is watching the immediate area, as well as what is beyond. Stay switched on to stay safe.

About the author

Captain Mike Boyle served 27 years with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement. Mike was responsible for all aspects of pre-service and in-service training and also supervised the internal affairs section of his agency. Mike has also been an assistant police academy director and continues to participate in both recruit and instructor level training. He is a certified instructor in multiple uses of force disciplines including handgun, shotgun, rifle, SMG, impact weapons and unarmed self-defense.

This story, from Policeone.com, was originally posted in 2017 but with the recent attacks on law enforcement, many times while they’re sitting in vehicles, we thought it was good to share it again.