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Sacramento K-9 Officers Gets State-Of-The-Art Bullet-Proof Vests

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento’s four-legged police officers have some new life-saving equipment with three new state-of-the-art bulletproof vests, courtesy of community donations.

Sacramento Police K-9 Bosko is getting some agility training with his new accessory, made with the same life-saving materials used in vests for human officers.

“These dogs are part of our family,” said Bosko’s handler Officer Randy Van Dusen. “We don’t want to send them into something that’s going to get them severely injured or killed.”

He knows what it’s like to have a K-9 partner shot on the job. He’s also the owner of Bodie, a police dog who took a bullet in 2012 and had to retire after his injury.

“Seeing your partner shot like that is definitely a tough thing to deal with,” he said. “Having these vests now, and knowing the protection level for the dog is much better.”

All nine dogs in Sacramento PD’s K-9 unit have vests. Bosko and two others just got the latest and greatest versions. They cost about $1,000, and are custom fitted and equipped with infared cameras.

“It takes a nice picture here, right through Bosko’s ears when he’s searching and I wear a monitor on my wrist,” Van Dusen said.

You won’t see the dogs wearing the vests every day on the street, as they are hot and heavy and only used in the most serious of situations.

“It’s for a special circumstance where we maybe have some information regarding a suspect having a weapon, or some other high-risk incident,” said unit supervisor Sgt. Joshua Dobson.

He says the police department would purchase the vests, but nonprofit Cover Your K-9 stepped up and donated them. Organizers like the group have popped up in recent years to help cash-strapped departments take care of their dogs.

“To be honest, we couldn’t provide the care for our retired dogs and our current dogs that we do now, without the support,” said Dobson.

Before the donation, all of the K-9s have vests, but they were used.

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