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For many athletes, preparation for an event begins weeks or months in advance of the competition. An athlete’s will and determination build along with the stamina gained during training. The commitment is even more consuming for a triathlon, where swimming, biking, and running test every major muscle group. Prepping mind and body is a challenge, but not enough for the members of the Project Active Armor campaign. During the Quantico Tri on Aug. 18, federal officer Josh Klaus and Deputy Kingman of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office will add to the challenge by wearing a 10-pound regulation Kevlar ballistics vest.
“Our mission is to prove that if we can do these events wearing a vest, there isn’t a reason an officer can’t wear it while sitting in a patrol car or walking a beat. As soon as I saw the email for registration, I knew the Quantico Tri was an unbelievable opportunity to prove this.”
Klaus, along with Law Enforcement United (LEU) president Wallace Chadwick of the Chesapeake police department, joined forces while participating in an annual 250-mile law officer bike ride, which raises funds for family members left behind when an officer is killed on duty.
“We’re raising money for the survivors, but I started thinking that a lot of the accidents police officers have can be prevented by wearing a vest,” says Chadwick “We need to prove that the vest can be worn in conditions like heat, cold, running, etc.”
The two officers set out on a mission, first garnering support from “Law Officer” magazine which sponsored Chadwick as he wore a vest during the annual bike ride.
“You often hear it’s too hot to wear the vest,” says Chadwick. “It was 85 degrees when I wore the vest for three days during the (ride). If we can do things like this, there is no excuse any officer can give me for not wearing a vest.
“We needed a way to further prove this message and bring awareness to our mission,” continued Chadwick.
The two officers began working on a campaign they call Project Active Armor. The inaugural event of the campaign was a seven hour, special ops training event which required all participating officers to wear their vest and carry a backpack weighing approximately 40 pounds during the entire event. All challenges during the event simulated actual movements officers would face while on patrol or during a foot pursuit when officer lives are put in danger.
“We were climbing eight-foot walls, going through water drains into water, and climbing ski slopes in 90 degree heat carrying 40-pound backpacks and wearing the vests,” says Klaus.
“We also carried a telephone pole around and completed bear crawls. Everything we did we completed successfully while wearing our vests.”
Chadwick further explains member of Project Active Armor are not part of any special forces section or training officers, but regular members of law enforcement.
“It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to be safe,” says Chadwick. “Everybody goes home. That’s the rule. We’re removing the excuses.”
Klaus and other members of Project Active Armor will also be competing in the Crossroads 4-Miler (Sept. 7), the 38th MCM (Oct. 27), and the Turkey Trot 10K (Nov. 23) all while wearing their vests. Registration for these events is available at www.marinemarthon.com.
Read more from the MCM Features Archives