By: Melina Matthes
OMAHA (kptm) - A local police dog will now be protected against the blast of a bullet. The La Vista K9 unit just got a bulletproof vest worth a thousand dollars.
The La Vista police department has two K9's, police service dog Leda and Tar. Tar is the younger of the two and did not have a protective vest. Leda's had one for several years now and thanks to a generous donation; Tar is now safe while he's on duty.
"It's a peace of mind knowing that he has a vest now. A little bit of protection depending on what that guy we're going after has, whether it's a knife or a gun or what it may be," Tar's handler, La Vista police Officer Mike Loyd said.
When K9 Tar isn't chasing tennis balls, he's searching for drugs, criminals and weapons. But, now he's a little safer while doing so…A $1000 bulletproof vest was donated to keep him out of harm's way. "It's going to take some getting used to, so we have our work cut out for us most definitely, but he'll wear it, he's just not quite sure of it yet," Loyd said.
Officer Loyd's vest weighs approximately 25 pounds, while K9 Tar's vest weighs about 7 pounds, but it's still just as protective against bullets and knives. "A lot of times, guns, criminals are going to pitch when you're chasing after them. A lot of times though they might have that knife on them, when the dog does go on apprehension with somebody it's kind of easier for a guy to pull a knife out and potentially stab the dog," Loyd said.
But the Omaha police department says the vests are restrictive, so they don't use them. "I've had to send him knowing there's a good possibility he could either be shot or stabbed or something like that but that's his job, it's him or we have to send an officer and that's what he's there for," Duke's handler, Omaha police Officer Brian Heath said.
The Council Bluffs police department has a vest, but says it's old and no longer useful. "They're going to go bad after a while just because of the fibers and stuff in there are deteriorating."
And other agencies want them, but don't have any. The Douglas and Sarpy county sheriff's departments say it's due to a lack of funding. However all say they would gladly accept donations, whether it be for a vest or training materials.
Local Law Enforcement Agencies, their protective K9 vest supply, and donation pages:
Omaha Police Department - No Vests - contact Deborah Gombert, Program Coordinator of Friends of the Omaha Police K-9 Unit at 402-498-3414 or visit their website at http://opd.ci.omaha.ne.us/about-us/k-9-unit/donations
Douglas County Sheriff's Department – Have some vests, but not enough for all K9's - The fund is The Douglas County Deputy Sheriff's Foundation, 3601 N. 156th St. Omaha, NE 68116. It is a tax deductible donation. If donating for K-9 specify on the check.
Sarpy County Sheriff's Department – No vests – Visit the website http://www.sarpy.com/sheriff/contactus.html
Council Bluffs Police Department – Has vests, but outdated – Contact Captain Scott Milner at 712-328-4707
Papillion Police Department – Has vests – Visit the website http://www.papillion.org/police.cfm
Bellevue Police Department – Has vests – Dog Walk Breakfast, Saturday, September 21st at 7:30a.m. Contact their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bpdk9?ref=ts&fref=ts
K9 Bulletproof Vest Donation Websites:
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