The Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA) donated 30 bullet-proof K-9 vests to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit on Wednesday.
"Two-legged or four-legged, in today's world police personnel need protection," said George Olsen of U.S. Armor, the company that manufactures the vests.
The vests, fitted to each of the K-9 Unit’s 30 dogs, will protect their vital organs from most handgun rounds. At a cost of approximately $500 each, the vest to outfit a dog is made from the same materials as one for a human.
Sheriff Bill Gore was on hand at the Sheriff’s Training Facility on MCAS Miramar to accept the donation.
“If we can help these K-9s out there,” Gore said.”Give them some ballistic cover out there so they’re not hurt in the line of duty, what a win-win.”
The vests feature several different attachment mechanisms for control, search and rescue and tracking harnesses. They are even strong enough to assist in deploying a K-9 unit from a helicopter.
Now that the unit has the vests, K-9 handling deputies will begin incorporating the vests into their training regimen.
"It doesn't take weeks or months for the dogs to get used to wearing the vests," Sergeant Jacob Pavlenko of the Sheriff’s K-9 Unit said. "We just put it on them and let them know that it's okay to wear, and they could be deployed in the field that day."
The gift was funded by nearly $16,000 in donations by DSA members.