DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -The Duncan Police Department's K9 officers will be a little safer while on the job thanks to a generous donation from a local resident.
Paula Stafford donated a bullet proof vest to the Duncan Police K9 unit, which consists of two dogs, Bo and Kylo. Kylo is a dual purpose dog that does everything from building searches to drug busts. Kylo will wear the vest as part of his daily uniform. However, Bo is a general purpose dog that does street patrols, so he'll only use it in special instances.
Stafford says she's best friends with the mother of one of the K9 handlers, but she says the main reason she was moved to buy the bullet proof vest was because she saw a show where the K9 was injured in the line of duty.
As a police officer, making it home at the end of your shift is not promised and their K9 partners face the same risks. Those risks are something Stafford says she hopes to reduce.
"The dogs need a vest too, because they are law enforcement officers. They're in a lot of danger too," Stafford said.
Duncan Police K9 officer Suzannahe Weir says the vest won't eliminate all the dangers they face on the job, it will provide another layer of protection.
"He can go into buildings where we have somebody hiding and we don't know if they're armed or not. If I'm chasing somebody down an ally who shot somebody, the dog can go with me and help apprehend him," Weir said.
Weir says the vest has given her more security in her partner's safety, something that means the world to her and Kylo.
"I'm extremely grateful for that. He's my partner and he's with me 24/7, and I'm extremely grateful the community wants to support that program," Weir said.
Stafford says she considers it a privilege and her honor to be able to donate the vest to the department.
"These law enforcement officers do their work to protect us. I just feel like it's an important thing. They're a special kind of people to be a law enforcement people," Stafford said.
Kylo has been with the Duncan Police Department for one year. Bo has been with the department for five years.
Stafford's donation isn't the only that the department recently received. The Tilley Group, Westside Christian Church and Erik's Pit Stop and Wrecker Service also donated the money to outfit the K9 car with a heat alert system and a door popper. The alert system monitors the conditions in the vehicle and is connected to a device on the officer's belt. In the event the dog needs to be left in the car briefly, that device will go off if it gets too warm for the dog. The door popper is another device that lets the officer remotely open the dog's car kennel to quickly release him into action.