A New Way Police Officers Can (Literally) Lighten Their Load

Police officers carry dozens of pounds of gear,  the equivalent of a car tire,  while on the job.

In addition to firearms and handcuffs, the weight also comes from protective garments and accessories that are designed to hold their equipment.

That includes the tactical vest.

Like the U.S. military, the law enforcement field is transitioning to lighter weight material to ease the overall load that officers must carry.

Honeywell has worked extensively with manufacturers serving these sectors, and Honeywell scientists recently introduced a new fabric designed to meet this challenge.

The new Centurion fabric is a composite material that's both high-strength and light-weight.
The new Centurion fabric is a composite material that’s both high-strength and light-weight.

Centurion is a composite fabric that is designed for a range of applications where the product must be strong, yet lightweight.

It is made from Honeywell’s Spectra® fiber, a high-performance, polyethylene material weight that is pound for pound 15 times stronger than steel, yet light enough to float.

When used in tactical vests, Centurion can reduce the vest’s weight by up to 40 percent.

Because of the fabric’s strength and durability, it can be laser-cut according to user preference, resulting in slits along the vests that take the place of the traditional heavier straps that have to be sewn in.

The vest is not only lighter and more comfortable for officers to wear, but also faster and easier for manufacturers to produce.

Thanks to Spectra fiber, they are also resistant to cuts, abrasion and water, making them ideal for many tough environments.

(Learn More about Spectra, one of the strongest and lightest man-made fibers in the world, used by millions of people around the world for a wide variety of purposes. Courtesy of Honeywell and YouTube)

Attendees at the recent National Shooting Sport Foundation’s SHOT Show noted that Centurion was a breakthrough material.

A law enforcement tactical vest made with Centurion
A law enforcement tactical vest made with Centurion

“The considerations for this particular material are endless,” wrote Lindsey J. Bertomen, a reporter for PoliceOne, a news outlet for law enforcement.

“Centurion represents the next evolution of lightweight law enforcement equipment, removing several pounds from the more than 20 pounds that an officer can typically wear while on patrol,” said Lori Wagner, armor marketing manager for Honeywell Packaging and Composites.

“Honeywell’s armor technology not only provides life-saving materials, but also produces industry-leading, high-performance, lightweight fabric like Centurion, designed to help those who protect us.”