CHICAGO (CBS) — A bulletproof vest is mandatory equipment for any police officer, even those with four legs.
On the K-9 unit, it’s a close bond between the officer and his dog, Chicago Police Lt. Vick Guerrieri said.
“The handler is with his partner 24 hours,” Guerrieri told CBS 2′s Ed Curran. “He feeds him. He takes him home to his family. The dog lives in the officer’s home.”
The training is grueling–up and down stairs, over hurdles and across steel grates.
Chicago K-9 Officer Jim Owen’s partner is Darwin, a four-year-old German shepherd.
Darwin faces danger all the time.
The 2005 ballistic vest he’s wearing needs to be replaced.
Guerrieri explains that they deteriorate over time, “Because of moisture, because of heat, because of the way the vests are stored. The material [in the vests] breaks down.”
“Vests last about five years. So we’re overdue, and new ones are better and lighter and cooler.”
Guerrieri needs to outfit the whole force with new vests. Each vest costs $850, and the force needs 21 more vests.
There’s a fundraiser Sept. 14, and it will feature canine demonstrations and an agility course.
It’s at 4108 N. Rockwell in Chicago from noon to 2 p.m. Admission is $5.
Donations can also be mailed to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, Canine Unit Fundraiser, 1407 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, Ill., 60607. Please write “K-9 unit” in the memo area of your check.
You can like the canine unit’s Facebook page at facebook.com/chicagopolicecanineunit341