The Council Bluffs Police Department only has one K9 officer. In an effort to protect the four-legged officer just like his two-legged counterparts, the department applied for a grant to get him a bulletproof vest.
Willy has only had his protective vest for a few days.
“He’s still kind of getting used to this,” said Officer Ty Boldra.
For now the five pound vest may feel a little funny, but one day it could save the K9’s life.
“It's both bulletproof and stab proof,” said Officer Boldra.
Willy and his handler Council Bluffs Officer Ty Boldra never know what call they may be responding to next. Officer Boldra is part of the SWAT team, so the duo could find themselves in some tense situations. Now both Boldra and his partner will be protected in the field.
“It's the same level of protection that I’m basically wearing when I’m going into a search warrant. It's a little bit more comforting to know that he now has that protection as well,” said Officer Boldra.
The more than $1000 bulletproof vest was donated to Willy by a couple in Pennsylvania through the non-profit Vested Interested in K9s.
“It was just very touching that somebody from the East Coast would take care of somebody from the Midwest like this,” said Officer Boldra.
In August Officer Boldra became Willy’s handler, a few months prior the Council Bluffs Police Department applied for a grant to get Willy a vest.
Since 2009 Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 1,800 dogs with vests.
Officer Boldra is grateful to have received this tool to help keep his furry partner protected.
“He is basically another officer. He is a valuable tool that we use in police work,” said Officer Boldra.
The non-profit says there hasn’t been a waiting list for a K9 vest in five years thanks to generous donations. If you’d like to learn more about the non-profit click here: http://www.vik9s.org/