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Bea Ahbeck Casson/News-Sentinel
Galt police officer Dan Carter shows how he puts the newly donated bullet-proof vest on K-9 Jax outside the police department building in Galt Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The vest was donated by Special Olympics athlete Karissa Krater through Cover Your K-9, a non-profit organization.

GALT — As tools for the Galt police — and close partners to the officers who watch them — canine units serve in some of the most dangerous situations law enforcement has to offer.

Their services are often required in incidents involving chases or weapons, and when confronted with a problem, they must use all their senses, swiftness, ferocity and wits to stay safe — and in some cases, even that isn’t always enough.

But thanks to the nonprofit organization Cover Your K-9 and a roughly $3,200 donation from Karissa Krater, a 21-year-old Special Olympics athlete from Elk Grove, Galt has received two bulletproof vests to provide extra protection for their two furry employees when they are needed to protect and serve.

“A bulletproof vest doesn’t guarantee safety, but at least it gives hope and some kind of protection,” Galt K-9 Officer Dan Carter said.

Each vest cost roughly $1,600, Carter said, and they come with a few nifty doodads, such as a light that allows officers to spot the canine during searches and an attachment that allows a helicopter to airdrop dogs.

The vest isn’t all that different from the one officers use, and much like its human counterpart, its main function is to protect from bullets using Kevlar padding, Carter said.

Carter has worked for the Galt Police Department for three years, and moved into the K-9 position after Officer Kevin Tonn was killed in the line of duty, and Galt’s other K-9 officer at the time retired.

Jax, a 10-month-old Belgian Malinois from central Europe, joined the Galt K-9 unit at the same time as Carter in September 2013.

Galt Police Officer Nathan Mayerdick and Hunter, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois mix, have filled the other slot on Galt’s K-9 unit.

Carter said Jax has several duties, including taking down suspects with weapons, sniffing for narcotics, chasing fleeing suspects and finding evidence.

Jax has two mindsets, and knows when he is off work and when he is on duty, Carter said. The dog is skilled enough to sense movement around a squad car in the dead of night, but also gentle enough to be walked by Carter’s 4-year-old daughter.

Carter said Galt police are very supportive of the K-9 program, but without the help of Cover Your K-9, they would not have the funds to buy bulletproof vests for the police dogs.

“(Galt Police Department) takes care of the dogs as well as they take care of us,” Carter said.

Contact reporter James Striplin at jamess@lodinews.com.



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