County K9s to receive body armor

Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office K9 Duke poses with a ballistic vest from Vested Interest in K9s, along with his partner Deputy Doug Haider at the September fundraising event at Cajah Salon in St. Paul. (submitted photo)
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office K9 Duke poses with a ballistic vest from Vested Interest in K9s, along with his partner Deputy Doug Haider at the September fundraising event at Cajah Salon in St. Paul. (submitted photo)

Kody, Rocky, Callahan, Laser. These are the names of law enforcement dogs who've died in the line of duty in Minnesota over the last 20 or so years.

Police K9s often face dangerous situations just like their human counterparts, and while their partners are issued ballistic vests and other means of defense, K9s aren't always guaranteed that same protection.

Of course, humans are humans and dogs are dogs, said Randy Gustafson, public communication and crime prevention coordinator for the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, but these dogs are also big investments and are important to police, he said. That's why the dogs are receiving body armor.

RCSO has seven "dual purpose/street dogs," six of which are German Shepherds and one is a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix. The Sheriff's Office also has one narcotics dog, a Labrador Retriever.

These dogs typically cost up to $12,500. Then, according to Gustafson, the county pours countless hours into further training each dog to become a useful tool in crime investigation and apprehension.

A treat

Thanks to a fundraiser that took place at the end of September, hosted and organized by CaJah Salon in St. Paul, two bullet- and stab-proof vests have been donated to RCSO's K9 unit, meaning Duke and Jax — two of the dogs in blue — will be given American-made body armor, joining the rest of their teammates who received their vests last year.

The money raised at the event went towards donating vests to several police K9 units in the Twin Cities area, through Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., a Massachusetts-based organization that works to outfit law enforcement dogs with protective vests.

Each vest costs between $1,795 and $2,234, comes with a five-year warranty, and weighs an average of 4-5 pounds. The particular vests Duke and Jax will received will have the names Kody, Rocky, Callahan and Laser embroidered onto them, honoring the dogs' service and sacrifice.

"These are our partners," said RCSO Sgt. Jim Dunlap. "They're such a valuable tool to us, we want them just as safe as we are."

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at twitter.com/JPooleNews.

 

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Comment Here