FARMINGTON - Police K9 officers face danger and possibly injury every time they are called out on duty.
They need protection every bit as much as their human handlers.
The Davis County Sheriff’s Office’s five K9 officers, Jak, Dax, Mojo, Nitro and Hasko, will soon have that added protection.
Utah-based Golf4K9s raised over $4,000 for the vests at an event hosted by Schneiter’s Bluff Golf Course in West Point last summer.
The Massachusetts-based company Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., is currently making the vests that will be delivered to the department in a month or two, according to Davis County Sheriff’s public information officer Susan Poulsen.
“They take a great deal of measuring and each (vest) is specially made,” Poulsen said.
Unlike their human counterparts, the K9s won’t wear the vests every day, only when they are placed in a high risk or high priority incident involving a gun or knife that could harm them, Poulsen said.
“(The dogs) overheat quickly because of their fur and their activity level, so they can’t wear them all the time like our (human) officers do,” Poulsen said. Typically while on duty, the dogs will function as any other dog.
The dogs train in their vests, but “when the K9s go in after the bad guys, or whatever the situation may be, they’re so focused, they don’t pay attention to them,” Poulsen said.
She added that K9s placed in hazardous situations without vests sometimes are so focused they don’t notice their injury and will continue to do their job.
“They have a high tolerance for pain and are very smart, so our handlers want to minimize the risk,” Poulsen said.
Vested Interest in K9s outfitted two of Syracuse City’s K9 officers in April of 2013. The company donated the proceeds of a national Groupon Grasroots event to 163 law enforcement agencies in 30 states at that time.
The non-profit organization was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with K9 body armor. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s Inc., has provided over 580 law enforcement dogs nationwide, with protective vests.
The vests are expensive - $950 each, but come with a five-year warranty, according to a Davis County Sheriff’s press release.