WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- West Valley City's four-legged officers are about to be better protected on the job, and the change is the result of a fundraiser by a national group.
Sgt. Shane Matheson and the rest of the West Valley City PD’s K9 unit have a new addition to their gear: brand new bulletproof protective vests for the dogs.
“Generally when we are out searching for suspects, the dog is the first part of the search team to encounter the subject, if the subject is armed or has any weapons--the dogs will now be more protected than before,” Matheson said.
The group Vested Interest in K9s Inc., held a Groupon event and raised enough money to give the vests to police in West Valley City. Each vest costs thousands of dollars. Matheson said they are grateful for the efforts of that group.
"Our K9 partners are, you know, they're our partners,” he said. “They go home with us, they're part of our family at home, they come to work with us each night. It's nice that they have the extra protection now."
The vests will help protect the dogs from bullets, stabbings, explosives and blunt force trauma--like getting kicked or punched. The dogs are working out with the new vests. Matheson said it’s going to take some time for the dogs to get used to working with the new gear, but so far they seem to be adapting--which is a good sign.