Police Dogs Now To Wear Protection Vests

Police Dogs Now To Wear Protection Vests

South Australia Minister for Police Peter Malinauskas

Extra Layer Of Protection For Police Dogs

Victor P Taffa

Protection vests will now be worn by all SA Police (SAPOL) General Duty Police dogs, reducing the risk of harm from offenders on the frontline.

“Police dogs are integral members of our frontline Policing team, supporting officers to control high-risk situations and detect drugs, explosives and other prohibited items.” Minister for Police Peter Malinauskas said.

“We are investing more than half a million dollars in increasing the size of SAPOL’s dog squad, as we work to reduce the growing impact of ice on the community.”

In 2013, Police dog ‘Koda’ was the victim of a knife wound to the neck while on duty. Following the attack, new laws were introduced to increase penalties for offences against Police animals.

Recognising the ongoing risks faced by Police dogs, SAPOL has been carefully testing protection vests to ensure there is no inhibition to the agility and mobility of the dogs.

SAPOL’s 12 General Duty dogs will now be fitted with ‘Mako Harnesses’ which not only offer a superior level of protection for the dogs, but also provide enhanced dog control and lifting assistance for handlers.

“This particular type of protective dog vest is the result of years of research and development. There is nothing else like it in the market.” SAPOL STAR Group Officer in Charge David O’Donovan said.

“While protecting the dog and presenting a professional image, the lightweight harness also provides enhanced dog control and retention, and improved benefits for handlers when lifting the dogs who can weight 30-40 kg each.”

State Government is investing an extra $549,000 in the acquisition and training of 2 additional Police dogs and handlers as part of a strategy to reduce the growing impact of methamphetamine (ice) in SA.

Ice use poses an increased risk to Police dogs, which are often used to manage incidents of violence by those seriously affected by the drug. The new vests provide an added layer of protection, enabling SAPOL’s dog squad to work as a team to improve community safety.


Criminal Law Consolidation (Protection for Working Animals) Amendment Act known as ‘Koda’s law’ came into effect in 2013, making it an offence to hurt or injure a Police animal. Offenders face up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine, and the cost of the animal’s treatment.

Under the new law it is an offence to harass or interfere with the duties of the animal or its handler.

SAPOL has 12 General Duty Dogs (German Shepherds) and 8 Passive Action Detection (PAD) dogs (Labradors). The General Duty Dogs are frontline dogs which will be fitted with the vests, whereas the PAD dogs are used for detection.