A patrolman from Mount Orab was shot in the chest while in the line of duty. His bulletproof vest saved his life. Now, he’s launching a nationwide campaign to make sure every cop wears one.
Before he left his home that morning, Patrolman Justin Conley of the Mount Orab Police Department says he snapped a picture with his camera phone of his three-month-old son. He gave his child and wife hugs and kisses before walking out the door to go on his regular patrol.
Officer Conley didn't know that picture-perfect moment would be close to his last.
He soon left his family and pulled up to the small police station outside of Cincinnati. He'd suited up for that January shift with his uniform buttoned up and bullet-proof vest on.
“Little did I know strapping on that vest that night was going to save my life and get me back home to them,” Conley reflects.
Inside of a McDonalds, Conley warned an aggressive customer to leave the restaurant with a sober driver. However, when he saw the same man driving moments later, Conley arrested him for driving under the influence.
Later that night, as Conley finished his shift, he was ambushed by the man he arrested earlier in the night. He had waited behind a trash can with a gun. “The male subject that I had just arrested earlier for OVI was standing six feet behind me and shot me in the back with a revolver,” recalls Conley.
The bulletproof vest saved his life.
Officer Conley says it could happen to anyone. "Don't ever think, 'it’s not going to happen to me,' because you get into that mindset and one day you might be here, one day you might not."
That's the message a program called Below 100 wants every officer to hear. They believe the Mount Orab officer's story will help officers across the country. The national campaign will push police to wear their seat belts and vests at all times, as well as watch their own speeds.
The free training kicks off August 26th with the goal of cutting line-of-duty deaths to 100 or less each year. That goal hasn't been achieved since 1944.
Below 100 and Conley team up to emphasize complacency can kill. “It's important that we push that people need to train and wear their body armor and take advantage of their gear."