Monroe County Sheriff’s K-9 Mako took a brief break from his duties on Aug. 25. With his handler, traffic enforcement deputy Aaron Roddy, the two visited the Roth Building in Tavernier where Mako was fitted with a new piece of equipment aimed to keep him a little safer while serving the community.
Mako, a 3-year-old Labrador trained to sniff out narcotics, stood and watched as Roddy grabbed a new ballistic vest donated by Dr. Robert Prosek. The 5-pound vest fit snugly as Prosek, Sheriff Rick Ramsay and school resource deputy Lauren Landa watched Roddy strap it around his partner in fighting crime.
“He’s one of the best looking officers now,” said Prosek, the owner of Florida Veterinary Cardiology who learned that Mako didn’t have protection while on duty. “There was an officers’ day at Ocean Studies (Charter School) and I saw the units out there. I talked to the deputy (Landa) about a vest and she said they didn’t have one.” Prosek is no stranger when it comes to donating vests to K-9s in South Florida.
“I bought some before for Dade County. They (K-9s) should be protected too,” Prosek said. “They worked hard and they’re officers.”
Mako is one of two K-9 units operating in the Florida Keys, the other being the golden retriever K-9 Coral. Recently, Mako aided deputies in the arrest of two Big Pine men who were reportedly in possession of pills and methamphetamine. During an Aug. 15 traffic stop in Marathon, Robert Alan Stotts, 49, and Louis Van De Gejuchte, 46, were allegedly found with almost 30 grams of methamphetamine and approximately 20 Adderall pills without a prescription.
Roddy, also a task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Mako not only assists during traffic stops, but he also works with state and federal partners. Roddy said the vest contains a harness so K-9 Mako can be deployed from the air and on the water.
“It’s rated for anything he might encounter,” Roddy said.
When not sniffing out narcotics, Mako and Roddy make friendly visits with local students and the community at National Night Out every August. And when he’s not working, Mako is busy chasing boats and enjoying some downtime with Roddy.
Inside the Roth Building, Ramsay presented Prosek with a challenge coin as a token of thanks for the vest donation.
“That’s very kind of you,” Ramsay said to Prosek. “These dogs are doing great stuff. Every week they’re making nice drug cases. A lot of them are coming from the K-9s which give them (officers) probable cause to search cars.”