One furry member of the Orland Park Police Department will be a little bit safer on the job.
With the help of non-profit Vested Interest in K9s, the Orland Park Police Department has procured a ballistic vest for K9 officer "Hary."
Hary has been a valuable member of the department for the last three years, police said in a release. The four- and a half-year-old imported German Shepherd is trained in tracking, narcotic detection and apprehension, and is handled by Ofc. Dave Staszak. Staszak stated that Hary is a great partner, with an extreme enthusiasm for working. Together they are responsible for over 125 narcotics arrests and 30 vehicle seizures.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts Their mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.
The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 930 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of $880,000.
The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, MA, who also does the custom embroidery on the armor.
New K9 graduates as well as K9’s with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to all law enforcement dogs who are U.S. employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.
Vested Interest in K9s Inc. was named a charity partner in March 2014 in a nationwide Groupon Campaign which raised over $335,000 in 19 days. The non-profit will be providing over 350 law enforcement dogs nationwide with the protective armor in memory of K9 Rocco Pittsburgh Police Department who sacrificed his life in the line of duty in January of 2014. All vests will be embroidered with the sentiment, “In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Police Department”.
For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508 824-6978. Tax deductible donations accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s Inc., P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website: www.vik9s.org.