A La Vista police dog got an important wardrobe upgrade when a private organization awarded him a protective vest.
Tar, a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd, may not care what he wears to chase down criminals. But Sgt. Bryan Waugh said Wednesday that officers will feel better knowing that he is shielded from harm.
The vest, which costs about $1,000, was donated by Vested Interest in K9s, a nonprofit organization in East Taunton, Mass. The group's mission is to provide bullet and stab proof vest for police dogs all across the U.S.
“We send out dogs into a lot of places that are dangerous situations and it's nice to see we've done everything we can to protect them,” Waugh said. “They're an important part of our work.”
Tar, one of two La Vista police service dogs, works with Officer Mike Loyd. He is trained in narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, tracking, evidence recovery and handler protection.
Waugh said La Vista's other police dog, Leda, was outfitted with a protective vest several years ago through another community partner. Waugh said the dogs' mere presence makes a difference in some situations.
“Typically, when a person hears that a dog is outside and may be deployed, they will surrender,” Waugh said. “They want to avoid that bite.”