K9 trainer pushes for donations to buy bulletproof vests

K9 trainer pushes for donations to buy bulletproof vests
Some new JPD K9s do not have their own bulletproof vests yet, so BlueStreak K9 is hoping to fix that.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A K9 officer is still recovering Thursday night after a shooting and standoff in a Jonesboro apartment complex Tuesday.

And now BlueStreak K9 is trying to protect the entire Jonesboro Police Department K9 Unit by pushing the community to donate for bulletproof vests.

"It's an important tool to have," Lead Trainer Blake Bristow said.

Especially in a situation like Tuesday night, when a shooting at the Gladiola Apartment Complex turned into a five-hour standoff.

After several attempts to get 56-year-old Brenda Thomas to surrender, JPD sent Gabo inside.

"In a high risk situation, we have time to vest our dogs up and potentially save their life," Bristow said.

And that's exactly what happened.

It's something no K9 handler wants to think about, but they have to be prepared for.

"Gabo is his baby you know," Bristow said. "That's his kid basically."

Thomas shot Gabo multiple times, and one of those rounds was absorbed by his bulletproof vest.

"Probably was a round that could have been a game changer for him," Bristow said.

For BlueStreak K9, it was an eye opener.

Bristow said some of the newest K9s in the unit don't have a vest yet.

"We have a large K9 unit," Bristow said. "And so the cost of supplying every dog a vest can get pretty expensive."

To be exact, it costs between $1,000 and $1,500 a piece.

"Right now our goal really is either two or three more vests," Bristow said.

So he's asking the community for help.

All donations will go into the K9 fund for vests, Gabo's medical expenses, and other training tools the dogs need.

It's an attempt to increase all of their K9s' safety and their handlers' peace of mind.

To donate, just contact city hall.

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