The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office now has six bulletproof vests for its K-9 deputies.
An area business and couple made the donation. Each vest costs roughly $700.
Deputies say knowing their partners are protected allows them to put more focus on their missions.
“His name is K-9 Axel. He’s a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois and full of energy,” said Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s K-9 handler Bobby Goodrich as he shows off Axel.
Deputy Goodrich has been a part of the K-9 unit for six months.
“Sometimes, I find myself talking to him like he’s another person in the vehicle,” admits Goodrich. “He’s one of us. He’s not just a K-9 at the sheriff’s office; he’s part of my family.”
Axel is a narcotics detection dog. Just like any other deputy, his line of work can be dangerous.
“We’ll send him into a building or a residence to try and apprehend a suspect that we don’t know if he’s armed or not. It’s no different than a deputy going into a house. We have ballistic protection. Now, the dogs have it, and it’s a great benefit,” said the K-9 handler.
“It’s really important that we protect them. They work for us. They’re employees, and they’re huge resources to the community and everyone around,” said Lafayette Lieutenant John Mowell.
Goodrich says Axel only wears the vest when out on a call and squirms a little at first but quickly gets used to it.