UPDATED: Friday, January 4, 2013 - 5:12pm
BRYAN, TX — Every day police officers are put into dangerous situations to help keep our community safe but often times it's their four-legged counterparts that go in first to ensure the officer's safety, putting their own lives at risk.
One Aggie plans on changing all that by outfitting the Bryan K-9 unit with bulletproof vests.
These two Belgian Malinois may not look like your average police officer but every day Kohn and Falco hit the streets looking for crime.
"When we roll out, they roll out with us," said Officer James Hauke, Falco's handler.
But unlike their handlers, Kohn and Falco, don't have bulletproof vests to help keep them safe so A&M grad student, Katie Tippett, decided to make it her mission to raise more than $2,000 to buy Kevlar ballistic vests for the Bryan PD K-9 team.
Tippett tells us over the phone, "These K-9 units demonstrate such courage that I feel like we should honor that and just help protect them because they protect us."
Research shows that 60 percent of K-9 casualties could have been prevented if the dog was wearing a Kevlar vest.
Kohn's hander, officer Chad Hanks says, "It will help ensure, especially on a tactical scene or a violent scene, that the dog is protected because obviously we are wearing vests and helmets and the dogs in those scenes are typically deployed first."
Both Officer Hauke and Hanks are grateful their dogs will now be better protected because to them Kohn and Falco aren't just their partners.
"Oh he's like a kid," Hanks said. He'd be a lap dog if I let him."
Officer Hauke adds, "He gets to be just like a friend. I mean if you had a human partner, you could talk to him, he doesn't talk back obviously but he's with me all the time, he's a fixture."
Tippett has never met the officers or their dogs but plans to when she comes back to Aggieland for the spring semester in a few weeks.