The South Charleston Police Department announced on its Facebook page on March 1 that its K9 law enforcement officers, Sid and Phine, have received bullet- and stab-protective vests through a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s Inc.
The vests were sponsored through a fundraiser hosted by the Alaska K9 Center in North Pole, Alaska. Each vest is embroidered with the sentiment/slogan “Gifted by Alaska K9 Center.”
Established in 2009, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. is a nonprofit charity with a mission to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The potentially lifesaving body armor for K9 officers is manufactured in the United States, custom fitted and National Institute of Justice certified.
Over the past 14 years, through private and corporate donations, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. has provided nearly 5,000 vests to K9 officers in all 50 states, at a value of nearly $7 million.
The safety vest program is open to dogs in the United States that are at least 20 months old and are actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate and receive replacements. An estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s operate throughout the United States.
Vested Interest in K9s Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $985 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744 to $2,283, weighs an average of 4 to 5 pounds, and comes with a five-year warranty. For more information, call 508-824-6978 or direct email correspondence to email@example.com.
Vested Interest in K9s Inc. accepts donations for the vests at www.vik9s.org. Contributions can also be mailed to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.
The South Charleston Police Department K9 officers joined the force in December 2021, following training by the dogs and their SCPD handlers the month before. Sid’s handler/partner is Cpl. Justin Bailes and Cpl. Tony Messer is the handler/partner of Phine (which is short for Josephine).