K-9 officers at the Fort Smith Police Department received a brand new bullet proof vest that could save their lives.
“He's about 2 1/2 years old. He's a German Shepard,” said Cody Elliott, a K-9 officer with the Fort Smith Police Department.
Elliott patrols the streets with a K-9 named Chico.
“I've had him since February,” said Elliott. “Since that time we've trained and spent most of our time together. In fact I probably spend more time with him than I do my family.”
Chico is a member of the Fort Smith Police Department.
“We look at it as another brother and officer, an officer in blue,” said Sgt. Daniel Grubbs.
Chico helps catch dangerous criminals, but the department says they cannot afford bullet proof vests for the K-9s.
“Any money that we had available for that was, it was solely sent to equip our officers,” said Sgt. Grubbs.
A local woman, named Jacki Corley, saw the need and decided to donate. She shelled out about $1,000 for the brand new bullet proof vest.
“Any high risk operation, we're gone put it on the dog to protect it,” said Sgt. Grubbs.
The department currently has four K-9s. They will rotate the new vest among all of the animals.
The donor, Corley, told 5NEWS she is an animal lover. Corley says if the vest saves one K-9, it is worth the money.
“I think he'll do well with it,” said Elliott. “It's just gone take a little time for him to get used to it. He's never had to wear anything like that before.”
Chico and Elliott hope to continue patrolling together for a long time.
Police say the vest is also puncture proof. “If there’s a knife it would actually protect the dog,” said Sgt. Grubbs.