Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock
COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Columbia County K-9s are getting equipped with bulletproof vests.
It’s a part of the Sheriff’s Office’s mission to better protect the pups that protect our deputies everyday.
The dogs aid in everything from searching for drugs and weapons, to finding missing people, to tracking down suspects on the loose.
One of those K-9s, Arras, has a great responsibility, protecting his community and protecting his deputy.
"Obviously, these dogs do a lot for us and they're willing to do anything we ask them to do, up to and including risking their lives for us," said Deputy Michael Santana with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office has five K-9s; Bruma, Arras and Hooper are patrol dogs, while Spencer and Storm are bloodhounds.
"Storm, her very first find was a missing kid,” Deputy Santana said. “She tracked him for 500 yards and we walked into the wood line, so we're pretty proud of her for that one. We've also been able to catch missing suspects and countless narcotics and things like that with them."
So far this year, the K-9s have been deployed 67 times; 26 were tracks, where they helped look for wanted suspects and missing elderly and children, 29 were vehicle searches for things like drugs and weapons, and four were area searches where they actually caught suspects on the loose.
The bulletproof vests, providing ballistic and edged weapon protection, were donated to Columbia County by the Georgia Police K-9 Foundation, but this is just the start of a state-wide mission dedicated to K-9 safety.
The foundation donated more than $50,000 to local law enforcement across the state.
Along with the bulletproof vests, Columbia County also received heat sensors for the dogs.
They hope to continue growing their K-9 force in the future.
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