One of the county’s four-legged sheriff’s officers will now be sporting a new piece of equipment when he responds on the job, thanks to The Georgia Police K9 Foundation (GPK9F).
Dawson County Sheriff’s Office canine Usvo was recently given a LOF Streetfighter Ballistic Vest. Usvo, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, is one of four DSCO canine officers.
While he enjoys family time, praise and rewards from his handler, Usvo’s “all-time favorite activity is playing the game at work,” according to a GPK9F press release.
“Our organization is honored to protect K9 Usvo with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. It is through generous contributions and support that we are able to make a difference,” said the GPK9F founder and President Kyle Briley.
This K9 is one of three at DCSO trained to detect narcotics, search for articles, track people and apprehend suspects. He is the 117th Georgia Law Enforcement K9 to receive the LOF Streetfighter Vest from GPK9F.
These vests are resistant to bullets and shield a K9’s vital organs, which can be especially important in instances of apprehension involving tracking or detaining a fleeing suspect before a human officer can take full control.
The vest’s soft body armor is made to be lightweight, which helps K9s avoid getting tired from overheating and experiencing heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. The fabric in the LOF Streetfighter Vest also regulates a K9’s body temperature to keep the furry officer cool and comfortable during shifts. The vests are meant to be worn for entire shifts to protect K9s at all times, since the officers may encounter danger whether or not a suspect has a lethal weapon.
Georgia Police K9 Foundation (GPK9F) helps raise awareness around Georgia about police K9s’ countless contributions to protect and serve communities. The foundation helps protect K9s by providing bulletproof vests, heat alarm systems or Naloxone Narcan kits in case of direct exposure to opioids on the job.
In lieu of state or local retirement benefits for K9s, GPK9F also helps handlers who adopt the dogs pay for the dogs’ food and medical expenses.
“Especially in light of the recent loss of two of Georgia’s Police K9s, our Foundation strives to help our brave four-legged officers, who are unable to speak for themselves,” said GPK9F Secretary Marci Viers.