SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- All four police K-9s with the Shepherdsville Police Department are outfitted with body armor.

The unit was created in July 2017, as one of the then-newly appointed Chief Rick McCubbin’s goals for the department. He hoped eventually they could have enough dogs to have one on duty for each shift to help with searches, traffic stops, rescues and more.

The department is now complete with four K-9s: Cherry, Dash, Indy and Dexter.

Cherry was one of the first dogs in the unit and was outfitted with body armor last year. Vested Interest in K-9s, a nonprofit organization, donated the custom vest. Now, the other three K-9s also have custom vests through the same nonprofit, made possible through a grant and local sponsors. Each vest is embroidered and dedicated to an officer or organization.

“The vests are custom made for the dogs, and I believe it costs them $1,000 to get them made,” Maj. Mike O’Donnell said.

And the dogs are making a difference. O’Donnell said the department is seizing more illegal drugs now compared to two years ago before having the K-9 unit.

“They’ve been key in finding hidden compartments in vehicles,” he said. “We’ve been able to take drugs off the streets that our officers would not have found by searching just by sight.”

The K-9s train once a week on different scenarios. They are trained to detect methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and heroin. And they are used outside of the city limits whenever needed.

“Not just the city of Shepherdsville has benefited, but the community, too," O'Donnell said. "Having the asset available, and it’s not just available to us. Our dogs go everywhere. Any agency that calls and asks us for help, we’re more than willing to send them.”

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