Five Oklahoma City police K-9s will soon be wearing ballistic vests, thanks to a non-profit organization.
The donation is in honor of K-9 officer Kye, killed in the line of duty after sacrificing his life.
Kye touched a lot of people during his time as an K-9 officer, and he's still being honored. Tailor-fitted ballistic vests will be made for five of the eight K-9s for an added level of protection in the line of duty.
“We discovered that this is a need,” Master Sgt. Coy Gilbert said.
A company out of Massachusetts called "Vested Interest in K9's" goal is to put a bullet proof vest on every K-9 dog in the United States. Already, because of that organization, more than 1,100 dogs wear an extra layer of protection when sent out on a dangerous mission.
“It's something that we've thought about in the past," said Gilbert. "This really brought to light exactly how real this is.”
Gilbert has worked with the Oklahoma City Police Department K-9 unit for more than 12 years.
“Kye is the first dog that's been killed in the line of duty here,” Gilbert said.
Kye, 3, was killed on August 25, stabbed multiple times by a man who ran from police.
Kye's partner, Sgt. Ryan Stark, tried to stop suspect Mark Salazar from stabbing Kye but couldn't. Stark shot and killed the suspect.
Kye was rushed to surgery but didn't make it.
The relationship, the bond, Gilbert has with his K-9 partner, Dezel, is strong, and he said the K-9 unit is prepared to do everything it can to protect the dogs.
“It will add to the confidence of whatever the mission is at the time,” Gilbert said.
There are three more dogs in the OCPD K-9 unit that still need a vest. Tayte Stark, 5, the daughter of Sgt. Stark, is heading the mission to make that happen.
The goal is to raise $3,200. Already, Gilbert said she's raised $2,000.