For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 31, 2003

Wasden Launches Body Armor Investigation

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has begun an investigation of Second Chance Body Armor, Inc. regarding its body armor made with Zylon fiber.

Second Chance recently informed law enforcement agencies that its Zylon-based Ultima and Ultimax protective vests wear out faster than expected and that there is a potential officer safety issue. The protective vests are used by some Idaho law enforcement agencies including the Idaho State Police and the Boise Police Department.

"We are very concerned about the safety of our law enforcement officers and have begun an investigation of Second Chance's business practices under the authority of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act," Wasden said in a letter to Idaho sheriffs and police chiefs. "Among other issues, we will be exploring the extent to which the company may have been aware of the problem with the vests at an earlier time and failed to warn users and, whether it has taken reasonable steps to deal with the situation."

Wasden has asked law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho to report any problems, including excessive wear, that officers have experienced with Zylon-based body armor made by Second Chance or other manufacturers.

"While the effectiveness of the Zylon-based protective vests manufactured by Second Chance has come into question, it is our understanding that it has not yet been determined whether there are similar problems with all Zylon-based body armor, regardless of manufacturer," Wasden said.

Second Chance has offered to upgrade the vests at no charge, as a temporary measure, and has also offered to provide a graduated discount on the purchase of replacement vests based on the length of time law enforcement officers have worn the protective vests at issue. It has not yet been determined whether Second Chance's proposed solution to this problem is adequate. The National Institute of Justice says it cannot certify, at this time, the effectiveness of the upgraded vests.

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