Law enforcement officers wear body armor for protection. The gear plays an essential role in helping them stay safe during each shift. However, canine officer companions are not always as lucky. Rather, many times, they have to go into situations with nothing but their fur, fang and skin to protect them. However, that may not necessarily be the case for long.
Recently, a bulletproof and stab-proof vest was donated to a K9 agent named Mac of the Wilmer Police Department in Wilmer, Texas. The donation was provided to the department by Austin Clark of Weatherford through the charity Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. out of Massachusetts. It is equally as important for canine officers to have the same protection as their human counterparts.
Mac works alongside officer Ryan Sawyer, a 12-year veteran. It is safe to assume that they go into some pretty dangerous situations together. After all, this brave pooch is trained in patrol work, drug detection, and apprehension. Meanwhile, Sawyer has 146 hours of drug dog detection and drug interdiction training under his belt. Now, the duo can rest a little easier at night knowing that they both have the body armor that they need to do their jobs in a safe and effective manner.
A Bit Of Information About Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
Sure, giving dogs protection is one of the things that this organization does. It has donated more than 3,800 ballistic vests to four-legged officers. However, the nonprofit has also given out 800 K9 opioid reversal NARCAN kits. Some of their other notable donations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Chevy Tahoe Vehicles
- Medical First Aid Kits For Canines
- K-9 Medical Insurance Premiums
Mac is not the only K9 officer to be given such a gift. The Clinton Police Department sent out a statement on April the first, stating that Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. had donated a stab-proof, bulletproof vest to their agent, Terry. Now, the police dog has the essential gear to protect vital organs against attacks while out on patrol in Arkansas.
Lucky was also the recipient of a stab- and bullet-protective vest. The police dog is a member of the Petersburg Sheriff’s Office. This piece of safety gear from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. gives him the ability to go out on calls while staying protected from certain types of danger. The vest is lightweight at only 4 to 5 pounds, which means an animal can run, jump, and do whatever is needed of them without being weighed down.
Who Qualifies For These Programs?
Canines must be actively working with a law enforcement agency to become a candidate. The dogs must also be at least 20 months old and be certified as well. Not only can newly graduated K9 officers participate if they meet the other criteria, but police dogs with expired vests can too. Hence, it is a good idea for police departments anywhere in the United States to reach out to Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Who knows, maybe their resident K9 agent will be the lucky one to receive a donation next.
Body Armor Is An Essential Part Of Tactical Gear
Tactical knives, flashlights, and vests are great choices for law enforcement officers to use on a daily basis. However, they can only do so much, if anything, against sharp blades and bullets. Therefore, agencies must think outside of the box to protect their human and K9 officers alike. Body armor may not stop everything that gets thrown a dog’s or a person’s way, but in the majority of cases, it does its job and prevents catastrophe.
Law enforcement professionals who don’t use body armor are only leaving themselves and their families open to a world of hurt. For starters, if an individual or a canine sustains injuries in the line of duty, medical bills become part of the equation. Should surgeries, medications, and other things not be covered by insurance, out-of-pocket expenses will accumulate in no time.
Consider Your Loved Ones
In addition, the injured officer will likely need to miss some work while they are recovering. Thus, loved ones will have to adjust their schedules to care for them as much as possible. So, if for nothing else, make sure you use high-quality body armor to get peace of mind knowing that you won’t run into financial troubles after an accident. Doing so will also ensure that your family members don’t have to change their entire way of life to attend to your needs.
Failing to wear body armor can result in more dire consequences as well. Should a K9 or a police officer get into a tussle requiring hand-to-hand combat, the criminal could easily slip out a knife and stab them. In other situations, cops may get into a shootout during a routine stop. If they don’t have body armor, they might lose their lives. In turn, surviving loved ones will have to deal with grief and loss. Not to mention, they could be on the hook for funeral costs too.
People who have not yet pre-planned their funeral may be in for quite a surprise when it comes to the cost of arranging one. According to Parting.com, an average, no-frills funeral runs between $7,000 and $10,000 today. Many families do not have a savings account with an unlimited amount of money in it. Rather, on lots of occasions, folks don’t have an emergency fund at all. In other words, the officer’s family may have to take out loans to cover the funeral expense.
Nothing Should Be Left To Chance When Health And Well-Being Are On The Line
Nobody wants to put their loved ones through hardships. Luckily, officers do not have to as they can wear their body armor and tactical gear to remain safe on the job. Additionally, police dogs deserve that same level of protection. Neglecting to give it to them can cause heartache and grief in the long run. With all of the examples and scenarios provided here, it is easy to see why body armor should always be considered an essential part of tactical gear.