Steve Dockery, a local citizen, donated four ballistic vests for K9s in the Washington County Sheriffs Office.
Four Washington County sheriff’s officers received some extra protection, and it will come in handy considering they’re usually the first ones to enter a building where a suspect is hiding.
The equipment? Ballistic and stab-proof vests. The officers? Three German Shepherds and a Malinois/German Shepherd mix.
The $3,500 purchase came from Steve Dockery and his brother, Eddie Dockery. Steve Dockery, a Limestone resident, officially presented the vests to the sheriff’s office Thursday.
“Some time ago we helped purchase a couple of vests in an adjoining county,” Dockery said. Then he began to wonder if K9 officers in Washington County had the protective equipment.
It turns out that Washington County had not been able to afford the vests. Dockery began discussing the issue with Capt. Bryan Horton and made the purchase.
Sheriff Ed Graybeal said the vests will help protect the department’s $12,000 per dog investment.
The four K9 handlers and their four-legged partners — Deputy Will Rhodes and K9 Mali, Deputy Burton Ellis and K9 Black Jack, Deputy Kenny Harless and K9 Stocky and detention Lt. Perry Allen and K9 Murphy — will begin training their dogs with the vests before using them full-time.
The vests, much like the ones human officers wear, have some weight to them, although it’s much less than the human vest. Each vest weighs around two pounds, but also gets hot the longer they’re worn.
During the presentation on Thursday, the K9 handlers took the opportunity to show off their partners abilities using a “bite sleeve” and verbal commands to take control of a suspect and how the dogs are trained to pursue a suspect who assaults their handler.
The officers were grateful to receive the vests to protect their furry partners.