An Edmonds Police Department K9 will soon be getting a bulletproof vest of his own thanks to a national online fundraiser.
"To do whatever we can to protect them just as we do any officer is just a huge plus," says Sgt. Mark Marsh of the donation to K9 Hobbs and his partner, Officer Jason Robinson.
The nationwide campaign was launched by the non-profit Vested Interest, which provided bulletproof vests for police dogs across the country. People made $10 donations via Groupon Grassroots, and Edmonds was one of the chosen recipients.
The nonprofit effort raised $155,537.33 in just one week, and will provide ballistic vests for 163 law enforcement dogs in 30 states. There are an estimated 30,000 police dogs throughout the United States.
Marsh says the dogs are like family, and deserve as much protection as any other cop.
"It would be almost as difficult losing a dog as it would be a human partner and these K9 officers not only work a regular shift with them but the dogs go home with them."
Losing the dogs can be heartbreaking, with many officers declining to return to K9 work when a dog dies, Marsh says.
K9's are often injured or killed in the line of duty. Just last November, a Kent police dog named Kato survived after he was stabbed while tracking down a suspect and had to undergo surgery.