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Herriman Police stand by K-9 handler's decision to not use body armor

Posted at 10:55 PM, Feb 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 13:16:39-05

HERRIMAN, Utah — Members of the community are wondering if K-9 Officer Hondo would still be alive today if police had put body armor on him before he was let out to a scene Thursday night.

Sgt. Ben Ricks with Herriman Police Department made the call to send Hondo to capture a wanted fugitive in Salt Lake City on Thursday. He made the decision that Herriman Police stand by: to not place the body armor on Hondo beforehand. Many people don't know that are a number of reasons Sgt. Ricks made the choice to send him without armor. Lt. Cody Stromberg from Herriman PD says sometimes, in a number of cases, no armor is best.

"A K-9 doesn’t have sweat glands like you and I do, so they get rid of heat through their pads of their paws and through their mouth, but when we put body armor on them, we trap a lot of heat inside the body. What handlers have found is that K-9s who wear body armor for an extended period of time can often have their core body temperature raised, they become dehydrated which obviously is not safe for the animal.” Lt. Stromberg said.

Herriman PD understands the hard decision that Ricks had to make and standby his actions, but they want the public to be aware of why he made the call he felt was right.

“While we get that there are frustrations and misunderstandings about how police operations work, we just ask for patience and understanding and maybe do some work to educate yourself before you make those types of comments." Stromberg said.