CEDAR CITY — Three police dogs received stab-and-bulletproof vests Friday afternoon at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office with the help of Tread Armament and Vesting America’s Police K-9’s.
The three dogs being vested were Duco, with the Cedar City Police Department; Hasso, with the Utah Highway Patrol in Iron County; and Lance, with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Nick Whitney, owner of Tread Armament and Weaponry, said they started funding for the vests in January and that they try to get the vests to the dogs as soon as the funds come in.
Duco is 3 years old. His handler, Cedar City Police Officer Clint Pollock, said that the vest gives Duco an extra layer of protection.
“If need be, we could send him on someone with a knife or possibly someone with a gun,” Pollock said.
Hasso is the first K-9 for the UHP in Iron County.
His handler, UHP Trooper Scott Mackelprang, said the vest is a good tool and will open up some options when sending the dogs out on a call.
“It’s a comfort knowing that in the future, we’ll have (the vest) with us,” Mackelprang said.
Lance is the only K-9 in Garfield County, so he trains with the Iron County K-9s.
“You get really attached to these animals,” Lance’s handler Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Clint Pierson said. “To lose him to gunfire would be like losing a partner — or worse.”
Cathy Williams, with Vesting America’s Police K-9’s, said that Lance was only able to receive his vest because of a donation from Christine Szychlinski. She originally sponsored the entire cost of the vest to celebrate the recovery of Police K-9 Pajko. However, Pajko died on Aug. 12 before receiving his vest.
The Vesting America’s Police K-9’s also vested another dog in Ohio because of Pajko. While he was sick, a group called “Friends of K9 Karson” was a huge emotional support, Williams said.
In July, when it seemed Pajko had recovered, Vesting America’s Police K-9’s gave Karson and his handler, Wilmington Police Officer Jerry Popp, a vest to thank them.
In December, Tank, a K-9 with the Washington City Police Department, will receive a vest of his own. His vest is being donated after a picture posted to Facebook received over one million likes.
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