LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Lakeland Police Department's K9s will now be safer while on the job, thanks to a generous donation from a Lakeland resident and the non-profit, Vested Interest in K9s.
The department has received six new bullet and stab protective vests, one for each dog on the force.
The vests are not cheap, valued at $2,000 each. They weigh four to five pounds.
"It protects the dog's vitals organs and the spine in very dangerous situations," explained LPD Sergeant Aaron Peterman. "If we have a chance to stop and put it on, we're going to do it."
Officers recently had a chance to use the new vests. On December 28, K9 Valor was called upon to get a barricaded suspect out of a house. Officers put one of the new vests on Valor before he went in that home.
Peterman also says having these protective vests will help protect K9s in a situation like what happened to K9 Hyde back in July. Hyde was injured when a suspect he was chasing stabbed him.
Lakeland PD said the vests are embroidered with the sentiments:
“I will protect my officer, my partner, with my life.”
“I will never leave your side.I will never waver.”
“I stand for good in a special Brotherhood.”
“I am your friend, partner, defender and protector.”
”In honor of all my fallen brothers, sisters, and K-9s.”
“Protection provided by Dave, Tosh, and Mishka Moo.”