K-9s with the Orange County Sheriff's Department received an extra level of protection Wednesday morning when they were presented with tactical vests.
Ten vests were donated by the Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort for the K-9s to be used during high risk SWAT operations and dangerous field operations.
"The dogs are seen by their handlers as a partner, not just a tool," Sgt. Dean Weckerle, of the K-9 Services Unit, stated in a news release. "It's important they have a level of safety and protection equal to the officers."
Eight deputies and their K-9s serve the 13 cities OCSD is contracted to protect, along with unincorporated areas of the county. The pups have reduced the man-hours deputies use to search for suspects and evidence, officials said.
K-9s are used in a variety of situations and have been injured while on the job in the past. The vests will allow the K-9s to be lifted into locations more easily, give their handler more control and provide protection from bullet and stab wounds.