LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The bullet-proof vest that likely saved a police officer’s life during a shootout Saturday night is optional equipment, but it’s rare a cop goes without it.
Lakewood police say Gordon Moench, 54, fired into Officer Jonathan Key’s vest. Another officer, Kimberly Collins, was shot, too, but in an area unprotected by her vest. Key was released from the hospital Monday morning. Collins remains hospitalized in stable condition.
“Most departments, and we are one of them, leave a little discretion to the officer. We strongly suggest they wear their vest, but we do not make it mandatory,” Steve Davis of the Lakewood Police Department told CBS4.
Davis said officer-involved shootings are more common now, so the vests have quickly become an everyday and necessary part of a cop’s equipment.
“The tradeoff is saving your life,” he said, “and we saw a good example of that the other night.”
It’s rare to see an officer without one, even on hot days when it’s tempting to shed an extra layer.
Moench faces several charges, including attempted first-degree murder.