Jefferson County K9 Hunk Has New Misfires

One of Jefferson County’s police dogs is about to have another misfire.

And it will cost taxpayers nothing.

Interest acquired in K9s Inc., a non-profit organization that provides bulletproof and stab-proof vests to dogs working in law enforcement, manufactures and donates the protective vest for Hunk, a dog of work at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“While the other four K9s have already received vests, K9 Hunk is the latest to receive one,” Sheriff Zena Stephens said.

Hunk is a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, who came to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office around 2018, according to Chief John Shauberger.

The dog partners with Correctional Officer Michael Garner at the Jefferson County Jail.

“The dog needs to be protected,” said Maj. Jeff Chadney, who leads the K9 program for the county.

“The dogs are placed in the same situation and the same danger as the dog handler. If someone wants to take their anger out on anything, the dog is usually the first officer they come in contact with.

According to Chadney, the vests are made of Kevlar, the same material an MP or police officer wears and works the same way.

Dogs must be protected during their normal job duties, which often include the scent of contraband, tracking, patrolling, crowd control, supporting high-risk arrests, and interdiction.

“We have two dogs assigned to the correctional facility and three dogs assigned to the law enforcement side, performing vehicle searches, searching for people,” Chief Donta Miller said.

“They had a call the other night where a guy had an accident. He jumped out of the car and went running with two kids. And they did a dog trail and located the guy. He was drunk. “

Miller said working dogs are in dangerous situations “all the time.”

“If you follow social media, you’ll see dogs getting injured every week in the line of duty,” Holmes said.

“Our dogs, when they bite, sometimes suffer injuries simply because the suspect is fighting back.”

The armor is custom made to fit Hunk’s body to provide maximum protection. It will arrive within the next three months.

“It’s an expensive donation,” said communications officer Captain Crystal Holmes. “The value of ballistic vests ranges from (approximately) $1,700 to $2,300.”

Having a protective vest will allow Hunk to more effectively do what he was bred to do and what he loves to do, according to his handler.

“With canine dogs, in my personal experience, a lot of the love and their appreciation for everything is work-related. It’s a game for them, in a way,” Garner said.

“They love what they do, and that’s why they’ve gotten to the point where they’re canine officers.”

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