Kansas K9 unit needs bulletproof harness, department calls for donations

Courtesy: Chris Somers

MCPHERSON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A McPherson County sheriffs deputy needs the community’s help outfitting his K9 partner.

Deputy Christopher Somers and his partner Ravi, 6, have been working together since November of 2014.

“We have deployed on the streets over 350 times in the three years we have been partnered together. We have been nonstop,” said Somers.

Ravi is the only K9 unit in McPherson County. The pair also assists Rice County and Reno County with traffic stops and drug busts

“That means for 900-square miles, it’s my responsibility if they need a K9, if they need any assistance and that’s not just McPherson County Sheriff’s Office, that’s all the city police departments, that’s also the state agencies,” Somers said.

The pair not only works together, but they live together, even vacation together.

“He depends on me for everything so that has created the ultimate bond. Any K9 handler would be able to tell you that. It’s a bond like no other,”

It’s that bond, Somers said he is so worried about losing each time he and Ravi are called to a scene.

“He currently wears a harness, but it does not have ballistic characteristics, so he’s not protected if I deploy him,” Somers said.

Somers said the sheriff’s office does have a ballistic vest for Ravi, however the dog can’t wear it at all times.

“If I am going to deploy him and I know that I might need it, I have to stop some distance away or something and put that on him because it increases the wear and tear on his body and they don’t sweat like we do, so it wears them down quicker,” he said.

For those reasons, Ravi is often deployed with no protection. After Wichita police lost a K9 in the line of duty earlier this year, Somers said he knew he needed to find an alternative for Ravi.

“If he gets hurt then that takes a tool away from me or say another deputy, so for him to be protected, that’s insuring that we have that tool at our availability,” Somers said.

Right now, Somers said the sheriff’s office doesn’t have enough money budgeted to purchase a bullet proof harness for Ravi.

“They are all limited. It’s anywhere. Every county has budgets. You’ve got so many things you can take care of and you can only budget so much to one thing,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s the way it is. You get the money you are budgeted and you work with it.”

For the 2015 fiscal year, McPherson County budgeted nearly $7 million for public safety, according to the McPherson County comprehensive annual financial report.

Somers said he has an annual budget of about $2,000 for Ravi. The money covers the K9’s food, medical bills among other things. Somers said the budget does not cover additional tools the dog may need. Therefore, he is now collecting donations to help buy Ravi a bullet proof harness. Ravi would be able to wear the harness at all times while on duty, giving him an extra layer of protection while on a crime scene.

“I know he would give his life for me just like I would give my life for him,” Somers said.

How you can donate:

  • Contact McPherson County Sheriffs Office:
    1177 W Woodside
    (620) 245-1225
  • Gofundme account

Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet. Follow and like us on Facebook and Twitter.