Firm donates ballistic vest to K-9 officer

Webster Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Joel Thomas received a Kevlar vest for his K-9 partner, Nico. Nico, a 5-year-old Belgain Malinois, is being outfitted with the vest donated by Norred and Associates, a security firm based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Law enforcement officers and their K-9 partners put their lives on the line every day, and because they do, an organization donated a special gift to the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for their K-9 Officer Nico.

Norred and Associates, a security firm based in Atlanta, GA, purchased a Kevlar ballistic vest for Nico that is ballistic proof, handgun and stab proof. The vest covers his torso and chest, said Deputy Joel Thomas.

“This is another layer of protection for my K-9 partner,” he said. “The dog will put himself in a terrible situation to help the officers. He is probably the best tool I have out of all the tools I have issued to me by the sheriff’s office.
That dog is by far the best tool in that vehicle with me. He’s another set of eyes for me, watches my back and protects me.
This vest will give a level of protection for him that we haven’t had before.”

Nico has worked and lived with Thomas for the last three years, and the two have taken on several cases where Nico’s skills were needed. A Belgian Malinois, he is a cross-trained K-9 officer trained in narcotics odor detection, tracking, building searches, area searches and apprehension.

Nico’s skills are used several times a week, he said, most recently in the case where the sheriff’s office received a tip regarding alleged dog fighting. When deputies responded, two arrests were made on drug charges among others. Major Dustin Reynolds said the case is still under investigation.

Anna Ware and Julie Robertson, with Norred, said the vests run about $1,000.

The two were in Webster Parish assisting WPSO with the investigation into the allegation of dog fighting. Ware said they were glad to give the sheriff’s office one more tool to help protect the handler and the K-9 officer.

“We thank the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for their adamant pursuit of justice for not only the citizens of Webster Parish, but the animals of Webster Parish,” she said.

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