ST. CLOUD, Fla. – Alan Miller isn't a St. Cloud police officer, but he understands the work an officer and his K-9 do and the connection they share.
"The bond between the handler and his K-9 is a bond few will know and fewer will even understand," Miller said. "So when they go out there, they need that protection just like the officer needs that protection."
A former K-9 officer himself, Miller got the ball rolling in order to outfit Axel and Endo, two St. Cloud police K-9s, with bullet- and stab-proof vests.
Miller is the president of the M.F.C. Osceola Chapter, a biker club that aims to give back to the community. This time, club members wanted to give back to police.
"It's a bond no one will understand unless you have been there. It's tremendous," Miller said.
The vests will last five years. They're fitted to the dog's body just like an officer's bulletproof vest.
"Now, this adds that extra level of security and comfort for me as his handler. As his dad, you know?" said K-9 Officer Garrett Stockdill.
Stockdill has worked with his K-9, Axel, for two years. To know his partner now has an added level of protection helps in high-stress situations, he says.
K-9 Officer Chad Wilson echoes the same.
"It gives you a great sense of (peace of) mind when you send him in a building and you stand by the door, and he goes and does his job and does his work," Wilson said.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. outfit the dogs with the new armor.