The St. Petersburg Police Department’s smallest officers all received special gifts on Tuesday. The K-9 dogs were outfitted with bullet-resistant vests courtesy of three citizens' donations.

"We have great respect and admiration for men and women of law enforcement and fire rescue,” said Michael Kraft, who, along with his wife and business partner, donated money to help purchase the K-9 vests. “We also love dogs, so we figured this would be a great way to combine the two.”

Police Chief Anthony Holloway presented the trio with a certificate of appreciation as the department showed off the custom-fit vests. Each dog’s vest was made possible by the donations given to the Vested Interest For K9s, Inc. organization.

"We haven't had vests for all of our dogs in a long time,” said officer Chris Copper, who has worked on the SPPD K-9 unit for 22 years. “We had one here at the station so in case of an emergency we could grab it and go."

His colleagues agree.

"Couldn't be any more thankful,” echoed officer Todd Hancock. “For them to step up and do that for us, for the community, obviously, we care a lot about these animals. We spend more time with them than we do with our actual families. So, to have that extra layer of protection for them is awesome."

The police dog’s vests each has a monogrammed message across the chest that is personalized for the animal. One message read “Born To Love – Train to Serve – Loyal Always”.

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