JUPITER, Fla. — It’s a busy season for the Jupiter Police department’s K9 team.
In addition to new recruits and retirees, the team received a donation of a life saving piece of equipment for one of their dogs.
K9 Corby is all business and bark.
“He’s certified in patrol and bomb detection,” said handler and partner K9 Officer Chad Norman.
Corby also a loyal companion to Norman.
“We have a bond. I spend more time with my K9 partners than I do my family,” he said. “They go home with us at night, they’re part of the family.”
Now, Corby is much safer out in the field with a new bulletproof vest donated to him recently through a grant from Massachusetts-based non-profit Vested Interest in K9s.
“They’ve donated over 3,000 bullet proof vests for dogs and agencies across the country,” said Officer Norman. “Knowing that he has the safety of his vest makes me feel more comfortable to deploy him in a situation like that.”
Vests aren’t cheap as just one is well over $1,000. The department is working to get vests for three more dogs within their total team of five K9s.
“With the rising costs of equipment — not to mention the purchase and training of a police dog — not a lot of agencies can afford to budget that in,” said Officer Norman. “So we kind of rely on these non-profits.”
If you take a closer look, inscribed on the front of Corby’s vest is a tribute to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office K9 Cigo, who was shot and killed in the line of duty around Christmas last year.
“Ultimately the first point of contact with a suspect can be with a dog,” explained Officer Norman. “When we deploy our dog, our dog is 6 to 15 foot ahead of us, that puts them in more danger.”
He said dogs have a natural instinct to protect the community, which can put them in harm’s way in dangerous situations.
“There’s a certain level of fear and alertness that I get as a human, these dogs don’t have that sense. They have a duty and a natural want to protect,” said Norman.
The vest is a reminder that four legged officers are just as important as their human counterparts when it comes to equipment and protection.
“As they have that task to protect us, it’s our duty to protect our dogs,” said Norman.
You can meet these K9s yourself at Jupiter Police Department’s National Night Out event this Friday.
The event starts at 5 p.m. at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. There will be a live K9 and SWAT demo.