ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - They're on the front lines on four legs, and now the K-9s who protect us have new protection for themselves.
The Massachusetts-based nonprofit Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. gifted the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office with a new bullet and stab protective vest for their newest dog, Harley.
The one-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd is now being suited up like his handler.
"I'd be devastated if something were to happen to him and this is just another layer to keep him safe," said Deputy Sheriff Steve Austin.
"He's the best partner I could ask for," he continued.
Three other four-legged crime fighters in the department are already protected, thanks to other donated vests. Sgt. Joe Stanton of the K9 unit says the dogs are generally responding to the most serious calls.
"On the street, they're an officer just like everybody else," he explained.
They use their noses for sniffing out explosives and paw their way to some of our area's most wanted, and Deputy Sheriff Austin says canine cops carry some the highest risks and would do anything to keep us humans alive.
"By him giving us that early warning that trouble is around the corner as we're going in with him, I think helps a lot of officers stay safe and helps the public stay safe as well," he said of Harley.
Vested Interest in K-9s has outfitted about 600 law enforcement dogs since 2009. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.
For more information, visit Vested Interest for K-9s.