San Angelo Police Department’s K9 Officers Receive Body Armor
San Angelo Police Department’s K9 Xander, Vader, Thor and Duke have received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
The vests were sponsored by anonymous sponsors and are embroidered with the sentiment “Socius Fidelis”.
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 1,600 protective vests, in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 1.5 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.
The suggested donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $1,050. 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.
K9 Xander is a 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd. He was born in Mexico, and imported to the United States to Hill Country Dog Center in Pipe Creek, Texas. His human partner is Officer Joel Fincher who has been working in the K9 unit since 2011. Xander is certified in Narcotics, Patrol and Tracking. On Xander's first track for an assault suspect who fled from officers, he located the suspect hiding in a field under a broken down car. He likes kids, neck scratches, tummy rubs, and running circles in the back yard. Xander dislikes being ignored or left alone.
K9 Vader is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois. He is certified through NNDDA (National Narcotic Detector Dog Association) in Narcotics, Patrol, and Tracking. Vader’s human partner is Sgt. Chris Cimino who has been working in the K9 unit since May of 2014. Vader is the youngest K9 in the unit. He was purchased and trained at Hill Country Dog Center in Pipe Creek, Texas, in January 2015. He has been working the streets with great success since March 2015. In the past six months, he has located three suspects that had fled or were hiding from police and a quantity of methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. Vader’s absolute favorite thing is to be next to or sitting on his handler. During this summer, Vader attempted to jump in a hammock with his handler but it didn't work out too well for them. Vader also enjoys playing fetch and tug of war with a Kong Wubba. On days off, Vader enjoys going for walks around the neighborhood and park, laying around on the couch, and listening to his handler read stories to his handler’s children (Or his kids, depending on which one of them you ask). Vader’s favorite work related activity is bite work sessions on training days. He likes doing demonstrations in front of people as he is a bit of a show off. His dislikes include dirty dog food bowls, inconsistency, criminals, and balloons.
K9 Thor is a five-year-old Dutch Shepherd. He was born in Holland and brought to the country to be trained as a Police Service Dog at Hill Country Dog Center Pipe Creek, Texas. Thor’s human partner is Officer Jeff Fisher. Thor is certified in Patrol and Narcotics. Thor enjoys his Kong, bite work, traveling on vacations with his handler, getting dirty, rolling around in the grass and he adores his family. Thor does not like hot weather, being sprayed with water (sprinklers), or being petted while he is chewing on his Kong.
K9 Duke is a 5-year-old male Belgian Malinois. Originally from Holland, Duke was imported to Hill Country Dog Center in Pipe Creek, Texas. Duke’s human partner is Officer Brian Gesch. Duke is dual certified in narcotics and patrol. Duke likes playing in the back yard with his Kong, playing fetch, and his favorite work-related job is tracking. He dislikes baths or water in general.