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Bullet proof vest technology credited for saving officer's lives

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EUREKA- The bullet resistant vest that the Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy wore on Tuesday during the incident in Shelter Cove has been credited for saving his life.

"It's invaluable, just like your firearm or handgun," said Kris Kitna, Firearms instructor for College of the Redwoods Police Academy.

The technology uses Kevlar, a patented synthetic material that is woven together in multiple layers. Depending on the type of model, as much as 20 different layers can be placed on top of each other to slow down a bullet.

The fabric is moveable, flexible and lightweight, normally weighing as little as five pounds.

Kitna said the material works like a catchers mitt and absorbs the bullets blow. He said that officers can be shot and not even know because of the adrenaline during the situation.

Every officer is required to wear one while on duty. SWAT Team officers and officers in critical situations wear heavier duty vests, some with metal plating that will make the bullet bounce off.

In both models, the bullet collapses, and smashes and expands at impact and is normally buried in the layers of Kevlar after the shot.

Kitna said it has saved many officers lives and is an insurance policy for anyone on duty. "Anyone with a lick of common sense will be wearing on of [them]," he said.