ALBANY — The Georgia Police K9 Foundation has vested 89 Georgia Law Enforcement K9s and announced recently that K9 Raven with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit is the latest K9 to receive a LOF Streetfighter Vest.
What is unique about these K9 protective vests is they have a soft body armor specifically constructed to be lightweight. This helps protect law enforcement K9s from becoming exhausted from heavier vests, which may cause overheating.
In Georgia, heat indexes can reach more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Keeping a K9’s body temperature down while they are working is crucial to avoid heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke. The fabric in the LOF Streetfighter vest helps regulate the K9’s body temperature, keeping them comfortable and cool, and is meant to be worn for entire shifts so that four-legged officers are protected at all times.
K9 Officers unconditionally run into dangerous situations, regardless of whether or not a suspect could be armed with a lethal weapon. These vests are bullet resistant and shield the K9’s vital organs during any apprehension that may involve tracking and even detaining a fleeing suspect before an officer can take full control.
The Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit’s K9 Raven, a three year-old German Shepherd, serves and protects the citizens of Dougherty County for the mere payment of a reward toy and praise from her handler. She loves family time and meeting the people in the Albany area; however, this law enforcement K9’s all time favorite activity is playing the game at work as a dual-purpose K9. Whether it is taking narcotics off the streets or tracking down bad guys or a missing child or adult, this four-legged officer loves doing her job.
Georgia Police K9 Foundation is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which helps raise awareness within the state and the local communities of the infinite contributions made by the police K9s and how they save lives to make communities safe. The organization’s goal is to protect as many of Georgia’s four-legged officers as possible by providing them with safety equipment, such as, bullet-proof vests, heat alarm systems, and Naloxone (narcan kits) in the event a K9 is directly exposed to any opioids during a search and seizure.
Once a K9 has retired, the handler will adopt their K9 partner. In the absence of state or local retirement benefits for the K9s, GPK9F will help provide retirement support (food and medical care) for the retired law enforcement K9s, who have unconditionally served their communities for years. To date, the Georgia Police K9 Foundation has provided 82 K9 protection vests, 27 heat alarms, 30 narcan kits, 15 first aid kits, 10 retirement plaques, 20-plus retired K9s have been assisted, and 100-plus training equipment, seminars, and trainings were supplied to numerous K9 teams across the state.
Chances are that everyone’s life has been impacted by a K9 in some manner throughout their life, and most do not even realize it. Before attending sporting events, concerts, or large functions, explosive detection K9s sweep the areas to ensure a safer environment for those in attendance. K9s are important in communities by locating/detecting illegal narcotics, as well as engaging in the most dangerous settings, while dealing with some of the most violent offenders without hesitation. Not only do law enforcement K9s assist by enforcing the laws, they also assist with locating a missing child or elderly person.
There are multiple avenues in joining the Georgia Police K9 Foundation’s mission. Those who are interested in helping or making a tax-deductible donation may contact the organization through its website at GPK9F.org, or checks can be mailed to Georgia Police K9 Foundation, 28 East Main St., Statesboro, Ga. 30458.