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Stalker outfitted with new bullet- and stab-protective vest

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit now has more protection when apprehending criminals.

A 5- to 6-pound bullet- and stab-protective vest for the K-9, Stalker, arrived Oct. 10.

The vest has to be removed every 20 to 30 minutes to prevent Stalker from overheating.

Stalker’s handler, Sheriff’s Office Deputy Adam McKane, said the K-9 has contributed to about seven or eight arrests, and he has helped track two people.

Stalker was reportedly at the scene of a K-9 search earlier this month in Albert Lea, which located a man who allegedly led officers on a chase that reached speeds of nearly 60 mph.

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit now has more protection when apprehending criminals.

A 5- to 6-pound bullet- and stab-protective vest for the K-9, Stalker, arrived Oct. 10.

The vest has to be removed every 20 to 30 minutes to prevent Stalker from overheating.

Stalker’s handler, Sheriff’s Office Deputy Adam McKane, said the K-9 has contributed to about seven or eight arrests, and he has helped track two people.

Stalker was reportedly at the scene of a K-9 search earlier this month in Albert Lea, which located a man who allegedly led officers on a chase that reached speeds of nearly 60 mph.

“Those individuals who are going to be out there doing things they shouldn’t be, know that he has got a pretty good nose of sniffing out drugs, and an excellent nose in tracking you if you decide you are going to take off and run,” McKane said.

Stalker recently assisted the Owatonna Police Department in executing a search warrant, and he assists the Albert Lea Police Department, as well.

McKane said he enjoys working with Stalker.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It is what I have always wanted to do. It is great. I always have a partner with me in the event that something would happen, or just for keeping me company. It is kind of nice. I never get bored. I can always get out of the car and do something with him.”

The vest was made possible by a $1,050 charitable donation from a nonprofit organization, Vested Interest, a group that provides bullet- and stab-protective vests and other assistance to K-9 units across the country.

The vest is embroidered with the message: “St. Michael, protect this K-9 and his partner.”

McKane has presented information about Stalker to service organizations in Albert Lea, and he believes the bond he has with the K-9 goes beyond work.

“He is my buddy,” McKane said. “He follows me around everywhere I go. At home, he is very different. When I turn down the alley to come home, he starts whining and stuff to get out of the car. He realizes it is not work time anymore, and it is time for him to play.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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