WBEN Photo/Tim Wenger

Erie County Sheriff K9's outfitted with body armor protection

Charitable donation enabled vest purchase

July 30, 2018 - 8:54 pm

Orchard Park, N.Y. (WBEN) - Just like human law enforcement officers, K9 officers are in need of protection in dangerous and violent situations.  Thanks to a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9's Inc. and the Staten Island Companion Dog Training Club, six Erie County Sheriff K9 partners are now outfitted with protective body armor.

The vests, which resemble similar gear worn by human officers, will protect the K9 partners from both stabbing threats as well as gunshots. The additional six vests brings the total to eleven K9 partners with body armor protection.

Erie County Sheriff Deputy Brad Ballantyne explains the vest and its importance.

"We go into some pretty high stress scenarios where it may be needed", says Deputy Matt Sirianni with trusty K9 Ciro by his side.  "Each dog handles it differently.....it doesn't seem to phase him whatsoever", says Sirianni about how Ciro is taking to the new gear.

K9 'Loki' didn't seem to be distracted at all by the new vest, which weighs in at about 4 to 5 pounds, as he was playfully handling a ball with his partner Deputy Bradley Girdler.  "I'm super excited about it because obviously he's the one going in first in a dangerous situation", says Girdler.  "For tactical situations I think it's going to be really worth it", says Girdler.

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.

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