Firearms are one of the most dangerous threats faced by law enforcement officers in the United States. During the past three decades, ballistic-resistant soft body armor has saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers. Body armor is critical safety equipment that law enforcement and corrections officers need for personal protection. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) establishes and updates voluntary minimum performance standards for body armor, conducts testing against these standards to ensure that body armor complies with the standards, and sponsors research to improve body armor. NIJ's predecessor, the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, began developing lightweight body armor in 1971 and testing it in 1978. Today, police body armor is one of the best-known products resulting from NIJ-funded research. NIJ's police body armor performance standard for ballistic resistance, most recently updated in 2008, is the only national standard for police body armor. Recognition and acceptance of the NIJ standard has grown worldwide, making it the performance benchmark for ballistic-resistant body armor.