Research Foundation News

January 9, 2018

Purdue police sergeant creates startup after designing bulletproof vest carriers aimed at versatility, comfort

Neal vest Purdue University Police Sgt. Travis Neal has started a business called Focus Tactical Design that makes external bulletproof vest carriers. Neal wanted to design a more versatile carrier that would allow law enforcement personnel to carry more equipment. (Image provided) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University Police Department sergeant has started a business aimed at making external bulletproof vest carriers more versatile and efficient for law enforcement personnel, allowing them to carry gear more comfortably while maintaining a professional appearance.

Sgt. Travis Neal founded Focus Tactical Design in West Lafayette, Indiana, because he wanted police officers to have more options on how they carry equipment such as handcuffs, flashlights or rifle magazines. The vest carrier is designed to wear outside a uniform, allowing law enforcement officers to take some of the weight off their belts to reduce hip and back pain and decrease the likelihood of chronic injuries.

“The idea is to make it more comfortable to wear during shifts that can last 12 hours or longer,” Neal said.

Neal, who also is a SWAT team member, said he designed the carrier with Joan Goetz, a laboratory technician in the Department of Consumer Science in the College of Health and Human Services at Purdue. The carrier was designed so an officer can have a front panel for everyday work that can be quickly removed and replaced by another for more high-risk situations, such as when there is an active shooter situation and  medical supplies or extra ammunition are needed. Neal said the carrier eliminates the need for a “go bag.”

The carrier also allows an officer to have an everyday setup that is similar to what he wears during tactical assignments.

“I wanted to marry the way I carried my equipment for the SWAT team and the way I carried my equipment for patrol. When I was looking at some of the vest covers that are out there, I could not find what I was looking for,” he said. “I also wanted to make it affordable.”

Neal vestB The Focus Tactical Design bulletproof vest carrier has interior and exterior pockets to allow law enforcement personnel to carry gear. The vest in the photo is shown with a Taser (in yellow), a radio in the interior pocket and a pistol magazine in the exterior pocket with a tourniquet in a case in the back (in orange). (Image provided) Download image

The carrier comes with two large pockets that can hold notebooks and pens, cellphones or extra rifle magazines and two interior pockets to carry such items as radios, batons, flashlights and other equipment. The carrier also has interior webbing rows for added versatility and a removable ID placard.

The Focus Tactical Design carrier is easy to put on and take off and comes in eight sizes, ranging from extra small to XXXL, giving customers more options than many competitors, and doesn’t require as many straps to make a snug fit.

The carriers come in police blue, black or sheriff brown, and other colors also are available with a minimum order. Focus Tactical Design also offers various T-shirts. All products of Focus Tactical Design are made in the USA.

Neal started Focus Tactical Design after three years of design work and going through business and entrepreneur training at the Purdue Foundry in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. He said the program gave him a better understanding of what it would take to start a business and the resources available.

Neal vestC The Focus Tactical Design bulletproof vest carrier comes in eight sizes to allow for a snug fit. The vest in the photograph shows a vest equipped with a flashlight in the interior pocket, a handcuff case in the exterior pocket and a Taser in the front. (Image provided) Download image

Orders may be placed at:

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, 

Travis Neal, 765-426-0126,

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