One Edmonton officer saved by body armour, here’s what you need to know

WATCH: Police Chief Rod Knecht updates in the investigation into the fatal shooting of Const. Daniel Woodall.

Constable Daniel Woodall and Sgt. Jason Harley were both shot when they approached the west Edmonton home of 42-year-old Norman Raddatz on Monday evening to execute a warrant.

Const. Woodall died. He was wearing body armour but none of the bullets hit it.

Sgt. Harley lived, having been shot in the lower back, and Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht credited his survival to his body armour.

There’s four levels of body armour; they range from 1 to 4 and increase in protectiveness as the numbers get higher.

They can be broken into soft and hard body armour.

READ MORE: Who was fallen Edmonton police officer Const. Daniel Woodall?

Edmonton police refused to say Tuesday what type of body armour the officers responding to the home were wearing.

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Police officers in Canada generally wear level 2, according to Nir Mamen, the managing director of the Canadian Tactical Officers Association.  What differentiates the two types of armour is what they’re resistant to.

Soft body armour

Soft body armour is what’s most common in Canada. Mamen said this type of armour is designed to protect against handguns and shotguns but won’t protect against rifles with high-capacity rounds – which are illegal in Canada.

“Soft armour in and of itself, it’s made out of layers of soft material that is stacked one on top of another, in a specific pattern, and what its designed to, when it hits, is every single layer of this material absorbs the shock more and more.”

The armour doesn’t protect against knives or “edged weapons” but will stop most firearms. It won’t keep the wearer completely free from injury.

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“It doesn’t necessarily leave a person injury-free,” Mamen said. “The amount of energy that impacts can still cause damage to the armour, so it may not break the skin but it may cause a severe amount of bruising. It can potentially break ribs or bones just by virtue of the energy alone.”

READ MORE: Social media overflows with grief for fallen Edmonton police officer

Edmonton Police have not identified what kind of firearm Raddatz was allegedly using but Chief Knecht said during a press conference Tuesday that 53 bullet holes were found in the home across the street – three bullets went through the outside wall and were found inside the home.

WATCH: Global News reporter Michel Boyer has an exclusive walk-through of a neighbour’s home that was riddled with bullets during a shooting that killed Edmonton police Const. Daniel Woodall.

Though soft body armour doesn’t stop all types of firearms, it can also be upgraded. Mamen said police officers can get – and sometimes buy with their own money – steel inserts that can be placed within their soft armour to give them more protection.

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Hard armour

The plates are an example of hard body armour which, though less common than soft armour, provide far more protection against heavy rifles.

Tactical Teams and soldiers are generally issued hard body armour. This type of armour is usually made up of ceramic plates, Mamen said, which stop bullets but shatter when hit.

“When a round impacts the armour, it shatters it, so you really don’t have the ability to take a lot of rounds into the plating before it loses its effect,” he said.

There are new materials, Mamen said, which prevent shattering and allow the wearer to be hit more than once.

But these heavy plates are also bulkier and heavy – making it a bit more difficult to move.

READ MORE: Details of incident that claimed the life of Const. Daniel Woodall in west-end shooting

“When you want the proposition of protecting against a round that can travel over 1,500 feet per second and can penetrate through a lot of dexterous material, that’s the compromise that you have, it does have to be bigger, it’s got to be thicker, it’s got to be stronger,” he said.

Where to buy body armour

Police officers are given soft armour but sometimes, according to Mamen, go out and buy inserts.

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Civilians can buy body armour as well through Amazon and other online retailers.

A search for “bulletproof body armour” on turns up over 3,100 results but includes leg protectors, helmets, and forearm protectors.

It’s not cheap. A “police style Stab & Bulletproof vest” on retails for $900 and is considered a level 3A.

Another, a SWAT-style bulletproof jacket with neck and shoulder protection, also a level 3A, retails for $1,100 and weighs approximately eight pounds.

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