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Donation funds ballistic vests for city K-9s
Gainesville Police Department K-9 Alex wears a new bullet-proof vest Tuesday afternoon that was donated to the department. Not intended for everyday use, the vest will only be worn by the dog in dangerous situations.

When Gainesville Police Officer Jeremy Edge and his partner Alex head out to track a potentially armed and dangerous suspect, the two will be wearing similar protection.

Through a donation to the police department, Edge and other officers working with K-9 units will be able to equip the dogs with ballistic vests.

“If it’s something where a weapon had been used or threatened like that, we would normally put it on them,” Edge said.

Rosalind Ferro, who made the donation, said she was looking for a way to give back after a life lived frugally.

“I’ve always wanted to do this and support police and fire (departments),” she said.

Ferro met with Edge and Alex Tuesday afternoon, petting the German Shepherd while it was wearing the ballistic vest.

Price tags on these vests start around $1,000 and go up, Edge said. The vest covers major vital organs with Kevlar panels similar to his own vest.

Edge said he and fellow officer Jason Pierce would likely only put the vests on Alex and Rex, respectively, during a track of a potentially armed individual.

“It is extra weight for him just like it is for us,” Edge said. “He does feel a little restricted in it.”

Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said the department is awaiting the arrival of two new dogs.

“Once they get here, they’ll be fitted with vests that she ultimately purchased,” he said.