Edmonton police are excited to have a new piece of equipment to help protect members of their canine unit.
Last week, the EPS Canine team received three different sizes of Level 2 armour ballistic vests — the equivalent of bulletproof vests — to fit the entire four-legged team.
The vests provide protection for the dogs and are also fitted with a camera system that feeds footage back live to handlers so they can see what the dogs are seeing.
The Edmonton force has been using the camera system for some time, but this is the first time it’s also had canine ballistic vests.
Const. Jason Born says this kind of equipment is very valuable when police are searching a residence for a suspect. The cameras provide real-time intel to officers and the vests help protect the canine members.
He expects the new vests will be used on a call “any day now.”
The annual police operating budget would not have covered the cost of these vests, Born added.
“All the funds required to purchase it were raised through Edmonton Police Foundation.”
When the EPS Canine Unit is fully staffed, it has 14 patrol dogs and includes German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. In addition to patrol, the canine unit has an explosion detection dog and a human remains detection dog.
WATCH: (Aug. 3, 2016) Edmonton police lay charges after they say one of their service dogs was assaulted.