LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - After recent donations, the Lawton Police Department can now go a long way in ensuring our 4-legged officers are just as safe as those who work on 2 legs.
Every day, the Lawton Police dogs wake up and go to work just like every other officer in the department and thanks to three new vests, those dogs now have the same protection as the officers they ride with. Sergeant Cameron Paterson works with one of the K-9s and says getting them the proper protection is the least they can do.
"I don't want to come to work and put my dog in jeopardy to a point to where he could lose his life and I'm not with my dog anymore. He's not only my partner, he's other officers partner in the street, other officer rely on him just as much as I do, they're a big asset to the department," Paterson said.
The vests are bulletproof against low caliber guns and while they won't be used for everyday drug stops, they will be helpful in more dangerous situations.
"For instance, if we got a call to where there was a barricaded suspect in a house that may possibly have a gun or there was somebody inside of a building where we may need to send a dog in. The situation is always going to dictate when we send a dog in or anything else," Paterson said.
Each vest cost more than $1,000, which was donated by Dr. Bower of Oak Ridge Animal Center, Cindy and John Zelbst, and one other donor who wished to remain private.
"I think it's wonderful, not only us as the handler ourselves, but the department as a whole loves the fact that we have the support of the community that is willing to take the time and effort to raise the money and make these types of donations for us," Paterson said.