GRAND JUNCTION, CO (July 12, 2016) – Grand Junction Police Department’s K9 Nero has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Nero’s vest is sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by the Colorado Police Canine Association and embroidered with the sentiment “In loving memory of K9 Gero, EOW 5/6/04”. Gero was a police K9 killed in the line of duty in Grand Junction in 2004.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 1,900 protective vests, in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 1.7 million dollars. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
“We’re incredibly grateful to have a vest for Nero,” says Officer Trevor Hawkins, Nero’s handler. “Not only is he an invaluable tool for the Grand Junction Police Department, but he’s also a member of our family. We know first hand how important this protective gear is.”
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $1,050.00. Each vest has a value between $1,795 – $2,234 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.