GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities.
In many situations, their four-legged friends are on the front line.
Niko is the K9 officer for the Scott County Sheriff's Office.
Niko's partner, and handler, is Sergeant Joshua Bedson.
"I love dogs. I've always wanted to do it. They fascinate me, I mean he's incredibly smart," said Sgt. Bedson.
Niko joined the department at the end of 2018, and the three year-old German Shepherd is a valued member.
"And able to either track for lost people or suspects. Or helping find narcotics. He's kind of a security blanket. I've always got a partner with me," said Sgt. Bedson.
"And if you think about what a K9's role is. It goes into a building first, it goes into a field first. It's actually the point of sphere of what's coming. And it's the one in most danger," said Sgt. Eddie Hart.
That's why a bulletproof vest is so important. But Niko's current vest is a hand-me-down, and it's expired.
"He's in just as much danger as I am. So if I've got one, why shouldn't he have one," said Sgt. Bedson.
Sergeant Hart says that when they started looking at vests, a community member reached out and said she wanted to help. Her name is Spring Barrick, and she launched a fundraiser for Niko.
"We jumped on that. Put it on our social media, and within a week, she had the $1200 she had asked for," said Sgt. Hart.
Within days, the $1,200 goal was reached.
"We hope that vest is never used, just like a deputy never has to use their ballistic vest," said Sgt. Hart.
An act of kindness means Sgt. Bedson's partner is protected in the line of duty. Sgt. Hart says the department had the money in the budget to pay for the vest, but now, they can put that funding toward other equipment needs.