Midlands woman raises money to buy bulletproof vests for police dogs

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Bulletproof vests are standard equipment at most law enforcement agencies. Usually every officer has his or her own, but that doesn't include the crime fighters on four legs. Now a midlands woman is trying to change that.

He's put in harm's way early and often. "He's the point man for us," said Brian Hinz. "He's letting us know where this person went, or where this person is."
"He" is Bayka, and he's a deputy. "He watches my back a lot," said Hinz. "I give him credit for my life every once in a while.
Hinz has called the dog his partner for four years. Together, they've tracked missing kids and elderly adults. Sometimes they go after violent criminals with Bayka out front. "They're up close and personal if not already making contact with that person, so it makes it a lot easier for the suspect to harm the dog," said Hinz.
Volunteer Elaine Henderson hopes to prevent that. "I asked about the protection of the dogs and the officer explained they rely on the vests but only when they're available because they're not provided by state or county funds," said Henderson.
She's started the Heroes Vest Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for K-9 sized bulletproof vests. Each one is custom made, and costs a little over $2,000. They're also stab and slash proof.

Henderson is selling calendars featuring Lexington County's K-9 team to raise money. She's also accepting donations, and hopes to be able to buy about 5 to 10 vests each year.

"Knowing when a dog is about to be put in that situation it's nice to have that extra piece of equipment to protect him," said Hinz.

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