The K9 Storm Intruder: A Dog's Best Friend
By Scott M. Bruner
PoliceOne Product Editor
While body armor for K-9s is no longer a novelty, Canada’s K9 Storm is about to unleash the newest innovation in police canine protection: body armor that not only protects your police dog, it comes equipped with a built-in wireless camera, speakers, and microphone.
Scheduled to arrive in January of 2010, the $20,000 K9 Storm Intruder communications package will allow the K9 handler to see exactly what the dog sees in dangerous territory and allow him to issue commands and direction. Using the speaker, the handler can also issues commands to suspects. The vest transmits a signal from 600-900 feet with a clear line of sight, and up to 200 feet through layers of concrete.
It’s seen as the next logical step in protecting man’s best friend in some of law enforcement’s most dangerous zones, and follows the larger trend of officer-worn cameras like the TASER AXON introduced in mid-2009.
“The K9 Storm Intruder allows virtual two-way communication between the dog and handler ,” said K9 Storm President Jim Slater. “It’s something we’ve been asked to design for many years to allow police units meet their specific mission requirements.”
The Intruder weighs only seven ounces and is rated to meet threat level II ballistics requirements. The K9 Storm Intruder does come with the hefty price tag at $20,000, but in addition to being an integral unit of the force, trained police dogs are $10,000 investments. Military-trained dogs currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan can cost upwards of $50,000. K9 Storm claims to already have dozens of preorders for the custom-fitted armor, which can be purchased through their website.
“A K9 is worth thousands of man-hours per year because of how efficiently they can locate concealed subjects and contraband…and they allow officers to negotiate high risk situations such as tracks, building searches, and area searches more efficiently and safely,” said Jerry Bradshaw, CEO and training director of Tarheel Canine Training, Inc. “They save time, money, and lives every day.”
Slater is a veteran police K9 handler from Winnipeg, Canada and designed the first K9 Storm armor as a way to protect his service dog, Olaf, from the dangers of police work. After placing his dog on the front lines to control a prison riot, Slater recognized the need for real protection for Olaf.
“Our company has been around for 11 years and is dedicated solely to develop and produce canine armor for the police and military sectors,” Slater said.
When other K-9 handlers saw the vest in action, they wanted one for their dogs, and K9 Storm was born. Storm now supplies work dogs in thirteen countries, and makes $5 million annually. In addition to law enforcement, K9 Storm provides the vests to the Army, Navy, Marines, and security companies.
For more information on the K9 Storm Intruder visit K9 Storm.com.