Local News

SO K-9 patrol dogs sport new protective vests

— This past month Highlands County Sheriff’s K-9 patrol dogs got just a little safer through the generosity of the Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida.

The group paid for K-9 body armor for all the four patrol dogs in the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit.

Deputy Steve Worley and his partner Ozzie, deputy Corey Tomblin and his partner Remco, Sgt. Kyle Albritton and his partner Mico, and deputy Dan Danley and his partner Varik were thankful for the added protection these vests provide.

The Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida is a non-profit organization located in Port Charlotte, whose goal is to provide protective bullet- and stab-resistant vests for all police K-9s in Southwest Florida that do not already have them.

The vests retail for $1,500 each and are lightweight, making them “perfect” for the hot and humid Florida weather. They also are easy to put on and can be donned in less than two minutes, the sheriff’s office says.

According to the Point Blank Body Armor website, the K-9 tactical vests were designed by a police K-9 handler for his own service dog. The vest is fully adjustable and may be deployed for searches, tracking, extractions and more.

“The vests are made of a durable, abrasion resistant outer shell with adjustability at the chest for a secure fit. They will deflect stabs and bullets as well as protect the K-9s from injury from vegetation,” the sheriff’s office says.

Sheriff Susan Benton greeted three representatives of the association, president Ray Hubbert, vice-president Bob Marron and treasurer Bob Flor, who were on hand to present the vests.

She introduced them to the K-9 unit members and gave them a quick tour of the facilities in Sebring.

“We are most appreciative of the efforts of the Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida and all their contributors. We love our K-9 members and want to take every opportunity to keep them safe as well,” she said.