HAYS COUNTY, Texas -- In every law enforcement agency, it's imperative for officers to have the protection they need. A donation to the Hays County Sheriff's Department means a four-legged member of the force is getting his own.
Deputy Rocky is a four-year-old K-9 cop, used in everything from chasing an armed suspect to searching for drugs. Just like his partner, his job can put his life in jeopardy.
“Our officers all wear vests in the line of duty,” said Sheriff Gary Cutler. “Rocky will wear one too.”
Thursday morning Sheriff Cutler presented Rocky with a special gift of body armor to protect the Dutch Shepard breed from bullet and stab wounds and other trauma.
“Last summer we applied for a grant from Vested Interest in K-9s. In July of this year we received a grant of $950 through their company for Rocky,” Cutler said.
Vested Interest in K-9s is a Massachusetts-based non-profit, that helps law enforcement agencies get potentially life-saving body armor for their canines.
While they offer added protection, these vests can have Rocky overheat quickly.
“I'm constantly monitoring his activity, his breathing patterns to make sure he's not overheating,” said Deputy Troy Mayne. “If he is, I take appropriate measures to cool him down.”
The sheriff's department says the new protection is one of the best ways to keep their four-legged officer safe on the streets.
Hays County is also hoping for donations to buy Rocky a cooling vest that will help him recover from the heat. Those cost about $250.