Virginia Beach K-9s now have bulletproof vests

The City’s hairiest law enforcement members are now much safer, thanks to bulletproof vests donated by a nonprofit in Newport News.

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office established a K-9 unit in 2014 and currently has two dogs, K-9 Candy and K-9 Roxie.  In June, the Atlantic K-9 Vest Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing bulletproof and stab-proof vests to law-enforcement K-9s, measured Candy and Roxy for custom-fitted vests, which are made from Armor Express TEX 10 and weigh less than seven pounds. Thursday morning, the K-9s donned their new bulletproof vests, worth roughly $1,200 each, for the first time. 

“This is nice to have our K-9s up and have them protected, where they can go out and we can feel comfortable with them doing their job in some good equipment,” Capt. Rocky Holcomb said at the sheriff’s office, located at 2501 James Madison Blvd.

K-9 Candy, a 4-year-old German Shepherd, is trained in detecting narcotics, according to a release from VBSO. In addition to searches at the Virginia Beach Correction Center, where she sniffs for substances such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin, she helps state and local law enforcement with narcotics investigations and interdictions. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, she helped seize more than 55 pounds of illegal narcotics, worth an estimated $160,000.

K-9 Roxie, a 4-year-old Labrador-Schnauzer mix, is trained to detect explosives and firearms. She does daily searches of the Virginia Beach Courthouse and its parking lot and conducts other searches of public spaces, events and schools. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, she performed more than 400 operational searches, the release said.

The Atlantic K-9 Vest Fund buys bulletproof vests for public safety K-9s in Virginia and along the East Coast. The fund was founded by siblings Randall Caldwell, Lucy Gellerman and Hannah Cordero in February, according to Kathy Hieatt, public information officer for VBSO.

It was established after the fatal shooting of a law enforcement canine, Norfolk Police K-9 Kriger, according to the fund’s website; K-9 Kriger did not have on a protective vest.

Questions or comments? Hillary Smith can be reached via email at or at 757-490-2750.



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