News / Halifax

Police canine gears up

Police dogs are often the first to jump into a dangerous situation, and most don't have more than their fur and teeth to protect them.

But yesterday, Vinny, a spry two-year-old German shepherd, showed off his new ultra-light body armour to the media. A few of the other six Halifax Regional Police dogs have old, passed-down body armour, but Vinny's vest is new technology and fitted just for him.

"Police dogs get called for high-risk calls that are violent in nature, and we ask them to lead the way," said Vinny's partner, Const. Jamie Cooke.

"It's important they're protected the same as a police officer is with a ballistics vest."

The vest was purchased by the Halifax Kennel Club, which has committed to buy at least four more of the $2,500 vests. Vinny got the armour because he's the newest dog.

"It's crucial," said Brenda Juskow, with the Halifax Kennel Club.

"We were shocked when we found out these dogs aren't properly protected or as protected as their human partners."

Like many K-9 pairs, the dog is a member of the family and Cooke said he wants his partner to be as safe as possible. Vinny, who joined the police force about a year ago, has worn the vest for three months now.

"He loves to work. On the way to a call he sings the whole time until we get to the call," Cooke said. "He's an enthusiastic partner who loves to get out and help."

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