Chambers County authorities looking to suit up K9s with bulletproof vests

CHAMBERS COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -  Known as man's best friend to many, but to Chambers County K9 handlers, two Malinois are their partners on patrol.

"He's narcotics and tracking. We assist any agency in the county or other counties that request K9s," explained Chambers County Patrol Deputy Keegan Daniel.

Chambers County Sheriffs Office Administration says they are looking at grants to suit their two highly trained dogs up with bulletproof vests.

"They really become part of our personal family life," said Chambers County Sgt. Caleb Calhoun. "The bulletproof vests can actually be around two grand a vest."

It's an expensive piece of equipment, but deputies say it's well worth the investment.

The sheriff's office invests thousands in these dogs who are usually first in line when it comes to searching for missing people, traffic stops, and drug busts.

Former Chambers County K9 handler – now part of jail administration – Mike Parrish, former Chambers County K9 handler and now jail administrator, said he came upon a house cooking meth in 2003 when his dog  Narco got into the line of the fire potentially saving his life.

"In bad situations, they are ahead of us," said Parrish.  "Before Narco even got to him he turned around and fired a shot. It was fatal. It hit Narco in the head and killed him instantly."

Bulletproof vests for officers are cheaper than those for the K9s. The vests for the intelligent four-legged officers have to be custom fit, but deputies say the importance of having them is a matter of life or death.

"it's very important to us and the department and the citizens that they go home just like we do at the end of a shift," said Calhoun.

Some of the grants the Chambers County Sheriff's Office are looking at are match grants, where the sheriffs office would have to pay a portion while the grant would cover the other part of the cost. Deputies say they are hopeful their K9s will be suited up soon.

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