Specifically, they were concerned with the safety of Demon, the department’s drug-sniffing canine. On Dec. 9, Weaver police Lt. Charles Plitt posted a picture of Demon on the department’s Facebook page, congratulating the dog for his work on a drug bust that led to a seizure of a car, later sold to buy a new vehicle for the department.
Among the hundred or so “attaboy” comments on the post, one concerned woman wondered why Demon wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest.
“We’re a small department,” Plitt said. “We can’t afford a $1,000 vest.”
So Plitt made a deal with his Facebook followers. If they would donate the money, the department would order Demon a vest. In less than three weeks, Plitt said, he received $1,044 for the vest and shipping costs, and on Thursday Plitt ordered a custom-fit ballistic vest for Demon.
“It was to their credit, they noticed he didn’t have a vest,” Plitt said. “It was a quick response.”
Demon, a black Labrador, came to Weaver four years ago by way of Auburn University’s canine-training program. Plitt said the dog regularly assists officers at traffic stops, searching for drugs and chasing suspects. But the vest will especially come in handy when Demon assists officers entering high-risk situations while serving warrants.
“He’s chased armed suspects before, and that puts him in a dangerous situation,” Plitt said. “Fortunately, he’s never been harmed.”
Plitt ordered the vest from Ray Allen Manufacturing, a company specializing in protection and training tools for police and military canines, selling everything from stainless steel dog bowls to protective eye gear, or “doggles.” Demon’s vest will be custom-made to fit him, offering protection from bullets as well as knives.
“Most officers don’t even have that,” Plitt said. “They usually just protect from bullets.”
When the vest arrives, Plitt said he’ll make sure to post a picture for all of Demon’s fans on Facebook.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.