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Safety Products Manufacturer

It's official! The manufacturing of tools for peacekeeping and law enforcement is, pardon the pun, an exploding industry.

It is estimated that the world spends a staggering $500 to $600 million on body armor products every year. And that demand in the body armor market is increasing annually at an approximate rate of 15 percent.

The safety products industry is responsible for making a variety of products, ranging from security alarms, locks and safes made by predominantly smaller-scale manufacturers, to bulletproof vests and armored vehicles typically manufactured by larger companies.

One such large company is Pacific Safety Products Inc. Founded in 1984 by company president Bradley Field, Pacific Safety boasts over 130 employees and three manufacturing plants.

"The company started out of the spare room in my house," recalls Field. "I had been a professional ski patroller and we needed emergency medical backpacks. For PSP's first eight years, the only thing we made was medical kits."

Field says he dove headlong into the world of body armor in 1990.

"We were really nervous about it in the beginning," he remembers. "But now armor has certainly taken over. Per item we still sell more medical equipment, but in terms of dollar revenues we make most of our money in body armor."

Field is clearly happy that he took the leap. Today, his clients include the Canadian military, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Tokyo Police Department in Japan and San Francisco paramedics.

"Domestic armor sales are growing every year," Field says, adding that the increased demand for body armor isn't coming strictly from police forces. "Law-enforcement agencies are certainly buying more armor, but we're seeing it in other areas, like security and in prisons."

He adds, "They think of what we offer as cheap insurance."

Vests can cost anywhere from $300 all the way up to $1,000. Other paraphernalia like bullet-resistant jockstraps and bras run around $300. In the United States, where extra cash isn't always easy for many local and state police departments to find, this has caused some problems. However, a federal act called the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, first introduced in 1998, can contribute 50 percent of the cost of a law enforcement officer's bulletproof vest.

The safety products industry estimates that the U.S. body armor market is worth around $200 million per year, or 35 to 40 percent of the international total.

How bright will Field's future be? He answers the question with a rhetorical question: "How long do you think there's going to be bad guys?"


Inter-American Security Products, Inc.
Browse through this supplier of safety equipmenty

The American Police Hall of Fame
Exhibits pertaining to American law-enforcement officers

Washington Report: The National Association of Police Organizations
A more detailed look at the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act

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