Bismarck Police K9s Gear Up with Ballistic Vests - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Bismarck Police K9s Gear Up with Ballistic Vests

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They fetch, they wrestle, and they fight crime on a daily bases, sniffing out drugs.

Meet Oscar and Luna, K9 Officers with the Bismarck Police Department.

"The K9s here at the PD are dual purpose K9s meaning that they are narcotics certified so doing vehicle sniffs or sniffs of hallways and then they're patrol certified which is tracking of fleeing suspects, apprehending suspects that may be hiding in a building, as well as officer safety," says Officer Tim Sass.

With drug crimes growing in North Dakota, Officer Sass says having a companion like Oscar alongside can be very useful.

The dogs are certified on marijuana, cocaine, meth and heroine.

"If he smells those odors coming from a vehicle or maybe from a doorway he'll go into how he alerts to me not just things that with the constant training that we've done and as much as we've been together I've been able to recognize his patterns, his breathing change and body posture change and whatnot and identify if he's on some type of narcotic odor," says Officer Sass.

But, being a K9 Officer anywhere can be a dangerous job, especially without protection.

That's why non-profit "Vested Interest in K9s" is gearing the dogs up with ballistic vests.

"As the K-9 went in to apprehend and bite the subject, K9s were being stabbed, they were being shot, they were being beaten up and they just had no protection on themselves," says Sass.

Although Officer Sass says the vests are a preventative measure, he's glad his partner against crime now has some armor too.

"It's just that piece of mind knowing he's got a little more protection knowing going into a dark building or a dark place that I might not be able to get to right away," says Sass.

After all, he says Oscar is more than just a coworker.

"If anything ever happened to him I'd be distraught. He's a partner, but he's part of my family too," says Sass.

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