KILLEEN, TX — Killeen Police K-9 Officer's Jaxx, Arco, Merlin and Edy have a lot of responsibilities as members of the Killeen Police Department.
"We can use the dog to apprehend a subject, and we can also use the dogs to track subjects that flee, and we also have narcotics dogs to find narcotics and explosive dogs to find explosives,” K-9 Handler Officer David Cole said.
Thanks to the nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K-9s, all four K-9 officers are now better-equipped to take on armed suspects. Through public donations, the nonprofit provides vests to K-9s that are almost identical to the vests police officers wear.
"The ones they have covers the front just a little, and it's primarily for side protection and ours covers the front and back,” Officer Cole said.
Each vest is embroidered to honor a fallen K-9 Officer.
All of the $950 price tag is covered by Vested Interest in K-9s. The investment is one that K-9 handlers with KPD said is well worth it.
"Any time you deploy the dog, there is always a chance of injury, but there are instances out there where you know they have a knife to where that vest is going to add that much more protection to the dog,” Officer Christopher Ache said.
To date, the nonprofit has provided more than 3,500 custom-fit vests for active-duty K-9s across the country.