K9 vests aimed at protecting man’s best friend

Police aren’t the only ones with lives on the line while on duty. K9 units also protect you and bring down criminals.

Jocobo is the newest member of the Metropolis City Police Force.

Handler Tim Davis finished his certification with the Belgian Malinois last month. 

"Hes very important, in my opinion. He can search for narcotics. We can use him to search for suspects or lost individuals," Davis said. 

Since Jocobo is Metropolis’ only K9, Davis says its important to keep him safe. To do that the department has been awarded a protective vest worth thousands of dollars.

"The vest is basically the same material that officers wear, it’s the same ballistic protection," Davis said.

Handlers say the vests are really only worn in dangerous situations. According to its manufacturer, the vests weigh four and a quarter pounds.

"Murder or something like that, when somebody might be armed," said Paducah Police Handler Shawn Craven.

Paducah police have had the vests since 2014 for its three K9s, including Junior and Huub.

Craven, Huub’s handler, says the vests have only been used a few times, but it’s a step toward keeping these police dogs safe.

"I think he’s the best tool we have. He’s here for me and other officers," Craven said.

Handlers say it costs at least $10,000 for the dogs and their training alone, so losing them would not be easy.

"He knows dad’s there for him, and I know he’s there for me when I need him," Craven said.

He says protecting the bond between these officers and their handlers is worth every penny.

"It’s very important to me. He’s a part of the family," Craven said.

Jocobo’s vest is being made now, and the Metropolis police department expects to have it in a few months.

It will be embroidered with the sentiment honoring K9 Kye, an Oklahoma City K9 killed in the line of duty.

The vest the Metropolis Police Department is getting is about $1,700, but they can cost up to $2,200.

Jocobo was awarded the bullet and stab protective vest by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The Massachusetts nonprofit donates protective vests to dogs across the country.

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