- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - Police in Miami hope to better protect their K9 officer companions through bullet-proof vests.

The Miami Herald ( https://hrld.us/1yjBGrv ) reported Saturday that the department now owns a dozen of the steel-lined dog vests.

A company that makes the 4.5-pound, green vests, which are also knife proof, donated about $11,000 worth of the equipment.

The dogs are often the first in and last out of dangerous incident, said Lisette Guillen, a manager with Vested Interest, a nonprofit that helps find donors to buy vests for police dogs.

The vests will help to protect the valuable police assets. The Miami department’s European-trained dogs cost more than $10,000 each.

Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera said the department hopes to find additional sponsors to get enough vets to outfit all 19 of its police dogs.

A 2-year-old Belgian Malanois named Atlas is the only Miami police dog to have died in the line of duty. Atlas died 15 years ago when he was shot while chasing an armed robber.

Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes was surrounded by seven of the department’s top dogs when announced plans to use the vests on Friday.

He credited community leaders for working to obtain the special K9 vests.

“The community has come together to help us do our job,” he said.

___

Information from: The Miami Herald, https://www.herald.com

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