K9 Duke, the newest addition to the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, will be outfitted with a unique ballistic vest that was recently donated to the program.

The ballistic vest is said to be unique because it is similar to the vest that is worn by Sheriff’s deputies which is not only bullet-proof, but stab-resistant as well. That feature is critical for K9 Duke, who will be utilized in the county jail working to detect contraband that inmates have smuggled in. He is being trained to detect illegal street drugs and will eventually learn how to detect electronics and vaping instruments. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy says while rare, sometimes weapons do make their way into the jail, and it’s a relief to know that Duke will have the same protections as the deputies.

The vest, which costs approximately $500, was donated by Michigan Insurance and Financial Services (MIAFS) in Grand Blanc. Murphy says, "I guess the obvious question would be well how come Grand Blanc? Well, a lot of our deputies live outside the county up that way and they do business with that group and they are very, very law enforcement and military-friendly. This wasn't something they did just for us. They've done a number of things such as vests or...an AED or something that a department needs."

Murphy says the Sheriff’s Office is very appreciative of the unsolicited donation. He notes that they are grateful for Duke as well, who was also the result of a donation. Following the death of one of their family members a family, who preferred to remain anonymous, asked in lieu of flowers that any donations at the funeral be made on behalf of the K9 program at the Sheriff’s Office. The family collected about $5,000, which covered the majority of the cost to purchase Duke, who was named after the family member that had passed. Murphy says Duke was an “early Christmas present” as the Sheriff’s Office had been planning on purchasing a K9 for the jail using money in next year’s budget.

Murphy adds that Duke will work as a "deterrent" as inmates will be made aware that there is a jail K9 who will detect any contraband, so they may as well get rid of it before being booked to avoid any additional automatic charges. He tells WHMI he spoke with the Marquette County Sheriff who has had a jail K9 for about nine months and reports that the implementation of the dog has helped cut down on jail contraband “considerably”. (DK)

Photo courtesy of Livingston County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.
Back row left to right: Undersheriff Jeff Warder, Hal McIntire (MIAFS), Nick Murphy (MIAFS), Jared Belinsky (MIAFS), Sergeant Kevin Mack
Front row left to right: Deputy Mark Click, K-9 Handler; K-9 Duke, Lieutenant Jeff LeVeque