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State police K9 to get protective vest

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Posted at 11:21 AM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 18:05:00-04

"He lives at home with me and he's a valued member of my family," said the man as he played tug of war with his dog.

It may look like the same playful relationship shared by many dogs and their owners, but this Malinois named Adama and Trooper First Class Daniel Tebbens are both assigned to the Maryland State Police SWAT team.

"We go to work every day,” Tebbens said, “He's with me 24/7.  So it's a friendship you can't really have like anything else really."

Thanks to a nonprofit organization called Vested Interest in K9s and a generous donor, Brenda Larsen of Anne Arundel County, in a few weeks Adama will receive a protective vest to help protect him from bullets or knives.
The protective vest is from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., a Massachusetts company that provides bullet proof and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement agencies.

The donation for a vest is $1,050.

The vest will be embroidered with the sentence, “This gift of protection provided by the Larsens.” Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks. 

The perils of the job are faced by humans and canines, alike.

"Just last month he bailed me and a couple of other guys out of a rather sticky situation," Tebbens said, "He was actually able to defend me.  That happens probably more than I can count."

A proposed bill, which didn't make it out of Annapolis this spring, would have required such vests for every police canine, but critics suggest the price of up to $1,500 apiece and the impracticality of wearing it 24/7 just don't add up.

"A dog is just not built to function in these vests that weight four to five pounds all day long,” said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police, “They can't wear a vest like a trooper can wear a vest all day long, because they get overheated."

That's why Tebbens will pick and choose when Adama needs to wear the vest, such as when the SWAT team is called out.

"He would wear it on every one of those operations.  We do several a week," Tebbens said.

After all, after almost three years side-by-side, no one is more concerned with Adama's safety.

"I would do everything in my power if necessary.  We've trained to carry them long distances if they get hurt or if we need to get them out of there, but there's not a lot I wouldn't do to keep him safe."

Not only is Adama's bulletproof vest a gift, but the dog also came to the state police through a generous gift from Dr. Kim Hammond at the Falls Road Animal Hospital.

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