A K-9's eye view, military cameras for dogs
WESTFORD, Mass. (WHDH)--A camera mounted to police dogs let’s officers see the danger that lies ahead of them. The lightweight camera is attached to the K-9’s bulletproof vest.
Real time video and audio streamed from the back of a K-9, to an officer waiting, a few feet away, in a safe location. It's a resource the military has used for a few years.
“It now is available to civilian law enforcements, so right now this is the only one in New England states that's actively being deployed,” said Ken Ballinger, Plymouth County Sheriff's Department.
The goal now is to get more cameras staged regionally so the equipment can be utilized more often.
“It really provides an extra measure of safety and extra seconds that could mean the difference between life and death,” said Westford Schools Superintendent, Everett Olsen.
And with this camera on the dog, it can be the first set of eyes for officers if there’s a bad guy lurking around a blind corner.
“It allows us to more safely enter a room and safely deal with suspects ultimately,” Ballinger said.
The dogs are put in the line of fire, but officers say the risk is far outweighed by the benefit, and they're the last people who want to see these K-9's hurt or killed.
“All of us are dog lovers that’s why we do what we do, and we treat our dogs like our children they’re parts of our family,” said Ballinger.
After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, educators in Westford thought this camera could be a valuable tool to have in their community.
“I thought it was a vital means for us to provide law enforcement officials with advantage over any unwanted intruders in any of our schools,” Olsen said.
But technology like this isn't cheap. The harness and camera can cost upwards of 8-grand. There's no extra money in the police department's budget, so Westford academy teacher Christine Cournoyer is spear-heading the fundraising for a dog's-eye view that could help save lives.
“If our K-9 officer is willing to do all the extra training that it takes to make this possible, I think raising money is the easy part,” Cournoyer said.
To donate for the K-9 camera and equipment:
or mail a check to:
Westford Charitable Foundation/Westford K9 Project
PO Box 314
Westford, MA 01886