The Arlington Police Department's two K-9 officers, Mojo and Finn, have some of the most dangerous jobs on the force.
"A big part of our job is to find the bad guys," said Officer Vince Ramsour, handler for Mojo. "These are guys who have run from police, who are known to have weapons – and when these guys are captured they're not just going to go to jail for a few days. They're likely going to prison because of the crimes they've committed. So we use the dog's superior sense of smell to hunt these individuals down."
That's why the unit was all smiles when it recently received two new bulletproof and stab-proof vests designed specifically for the dogs. And it was all thanks to a retired Arlington teacher.
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"It means a lot to us," said Ramsour.
When Teri Foster turned on the news one day, she saw a story about a K-9 officer that was killed in the line of duty. As a dog owner and lover, that report stayed with her. So when she learned her own police department did not have vests for its K-9 officers, she decided to take action.
"They do protect us as citizens and they protect the police officers that protect us," said Foster. "This is a way I could give back to my community and to the dogs."
She donated $2,000 to the Arlington Police Department so it could purchase the vests.
Ramsour said most police departments don't have the budgets to spend that kind of money on such specialized pieces of equipment, so the fact that a citizen would reach out and help them is touching.
"It's just that much more we don't have to take out of the Arlington Police Department budget to get what we need to properly and safely deploy our dogs," said Ramsour.
On Wednesday, the full K-9 unit met Foster at a local park to show off the vests and say thanks to Foster.
"And now to see them with the vests, it just makes it all come full circle," said Foster.
The Arlington Police Department is in the process of getting a third K-9 officer. Foster said she'll buy that dog a vest as well. She has also pledged to replace the vests as needed.