SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) -- Police officers across the nation put their lives on the line each night when they suit up, and head to work.
Now, some K-9 officers are having to suit up for the job as well.
Siloam Springs Police Corporal Stephen Deppner, and his K-9 partner Fado, work every shift together. Each shift, they patrol the streets of Siloam Springs, unaware as to what dangers they may face.
Fado specializes in just about everything a K-9 officer can be trained on.
"He can do, pretty much, more than any individual tool, or officer, could do in the entire department," Deppner said.
According to Deppner, Fado is often the first police officer to investigate crimes.
"My dog is usually the first one into a dangerous situation. So, protecting him is obviously a pretty big priority," Deppner said. “Sending him in unequipped, is dangerous.”
That is why non-profit organization “Vested Interest in K-9’s Inc.” helped the city of Siloam Springs obtain a vest for Fado.
The nearly $2,000, custom fit, five pound ballistic and stab resistant vest is designed to give Fado the protection human officers have in their vests.
"It’s a big investment,” Deppner said. “You're protecting tens of thousands of dollars in costs, and equipment, and training time and vet bills.”
Vested Interest In K-9’s accepts donations from the public, in order to help fund the purchase of vests for some of the estimated 30,000 K-9 officers in the United States.
Deppner said Fado is one of his best friends. A work partner, that also goes home with him every single night.
So, now that Fado is equipped with protective gear of his own, the two are ready to take on whatever may come their way.
"It means the world to me, that he is a little bit safer. That's fantastic," Deppner said.