BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - A pair of four-legged deputies in Bulloch County will soon have life-saving protection that other deputies already wear.
Bulloch County's sheriff will tell you outfitting a K9 with protective gear isn't as frivolous as some cynics might think, especially when grant money covers the cost.
Dutch the K9 bolts out of the truck with the same energy every time and finds drugs wherever they might be hidden. Soon, he'll wear a bulletproof vest just like the deputy who handles him. A nonprofit group called Vested Interest in K9s pays the majority of the cost to suit up the dog to protect him from bad guys who might try to hurt them, just like they try to harm the human deputy.
"Not only will they attack an officer. The deputy is an officer, the dog is an officer. They think their freedom's being lost, so they'll attack," said Sheriff Noel Brown, Bulloch County.
The vests will carry a patch to remember two K9s elsewhere who were lost in the line of duty. They can cost up to $2,000 each, but the sheriff says this grant fits in with local sponsorships they've found to help provide services outside their budget.
"The great thing is the networking among K9 units; county to county and outside the state of Georgia and communicating with others," Sheriff Brown said.
Sheriff Brown says a grant to cover this cost lets him spend his budget money on other needs.