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Nonprofit provides safety vests for K-9 unit dogs in Charlotte County

K-9 dogs are getting a boost with some help from those who used to serve alongside them. Officers who used to work with K-9 dogs are coming together to protect them.

Retired Law Enforcement Officers of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit run by retired officers from all across the United States. While their careers have ended, their service has not.

“When you’re a law enforcement officer, it stays with you for your whole life,” said Robert Troise, the public information officer of the group. “You kind of want to stay involved.”

Sgt. Musgrove is a K-9 deputy with Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. The safety of his K-9 dog is part of his livelihood.

“I spend more time with my dog than I do with my kids,” said Sgt. Musgrove, a K-9 officer with Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

But they’re also crucial members of law enforcement

“He’s the first one up, ready to go to work every day just like an officer would be,” Musgrove said.

Since 2009, the Retired Law Enforcement Officers of Southwest Florida has raised enough money to provide bullet-resistant vests for 69 police K-9s in 17 different agencies in Southwest Florida.

“K-9s are used in many different facets in law enforcement,” Troise said. “They’re used to find lost people. They retrieve evidence. They’re used in apprehension. They’re an important part of law enforcement.”

The sheriff’s office currently has eight patrol K-9s, all of which have vests donated by the retired officers.

“It’s going to protect them from any kind of bullet wounds or any other possible puncture wounds while tracking, looking for armed suspects or fleeing suspects,” Musgrove said. “A dog’s life is just as important as an officer’s.”

The group hopes to vest more K-9s in the future, protecting those they say play a vital role in protecting us.

“The dogs are there for everybody’s safety, for the officer’s safety, for the public safety,” Troise said. “The time that the officer and the dogs been training is tremendous. But the return that you get out of it is just as good, so they need to be protected.”

MORE: Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida

Reporter:Taylor Wirtz
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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