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K-9 officer to get bulletproof vest

By Staff | Apr 8, 2018

Faribault County Sheriff’s deputy Brittney Gehrking and K-9 officer Zeus.

Faribault County’s four-legged officer will soon be receiving some added protection.

Vested Interest in K-9s Incorporated is a non-profit organization which provides bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement. Since its inception, the group has provided over 2,800 protective vests in all 50 states through private and corporate donations at a cost of over $2.4 million.

In eight to 10 weeks, Vested Interest in K-9s Inc. will be providing a protective vest to protect Faribault County’s K-9 officer, Zeus. The dog’s handler, deputy Brittney Gehrking, applied for the added equipment back in February.

Gehrking says the vest, which weighs approximately four to five pounds is an important insurance policy to keep the county’s police dog safe from danger.

“It’s nice to know Zeus will be protected because he is an officer of the law just like the rest of us,” Gehrking explains. “Without him, we would not have been able to gain the probable cause necessary to find narcotics.”

Gehrking is the only county deputy trained to handle Zeus and the pair have been working together for roughly a year and a half. So far, Gehrking says it has been a joy working with the K-9.

“He’s always motivated and he never complains,” Gehrking laughs. “It has always been a goal of mine to be a K-9 handler. I have always been a dog lover and can’t remember the last time I didn’t have one.”

During their brief time on the police force together, Zeus has already assisted in the recovery of narcotics. In November 2016, the K-9 unit was responsible for locating over an ounce of marijuana in Wells. In December 2016, marijuana, along with $44,320 in cash was discovered during a traffic stop.

In addition to drug searches, Zeus’ keen sense of smell also assists law enforcement officials with evidence recovery, as well as locating missing people. Gehrking says the protective vest will give the K-9 unit added versatility to handle different situations.

“Sometimes people can hide really well when we go into a room during a search warrant,” Gehrking says. “This gives us added protection in case someone is intent on hurting the dog.”