Canine Kevlar? Edmonton company filling order for Toronto police
Canine protection is a growing part of the business for a local armour company
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When Toronto’s police dogs hit the streets in coming months in new armoured vests, they’ll do so in equipment designed and made in Edmonton.
The Toronto Police Services Board voted last week to accept an anonymous donation of 18 vests made by Line of Fire Defence, an Edmonton-based vendor that specializes in armour for police and military.
The total cost is just over $22,000.
Duncan Horner, a spokesperson for Line of Fire, said protection for dogs is a rapidly growing part of their business, as law enforcement becomes more sensitive to the risks faced by canine members.
“There’s a lot of money invested in these animals, and officers are issued body armour, so it only makes sense that the animals working with us are also issued body armour,” he said.
The Toronto donor decided to provide the vests after hearing about several injured police dogs, including Toronto Police K9 member, Lonca, who was cut in the lip and paw by a suspect with a machete in 2015.
An Edmonton police dog named Quanto also died of stab wounds suffered in the pursuit of a suspect back in 2013.
Horner said Line of Fire is one of two Canadian companies making armour for dogs, and has worked with agencies across North America.
The vests they’re making for Toronto are what he called “spike” or “slash” armour, and use panels made of Kevlar to protect a dog’s back and sides from edged weapons. A vest typically retails for about $1,500.
Unlike heavier ballistic vests used by some dogs for short periods of time, he said these weigh approximately two pounds and are designed to be worn for a full shift.
“For a large German Shepherd that’s not much,” he said.
While he said use of armour for police dogs is growing, it’s mostly on an individual basis, though he believes that’s changing.
“It’s turning the corner, I think in the next few years the majority of dogs will have armour like ours.”
Horner said as soon as the company gets sizing information they’ll start work on the vests for Toronto in the coming weeks.