WCPD K9 officers to get body armor
West Chester Police Department’s K9 Ciro and Blek will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Ciro and Blek’s vests are sponsored by Vikki Johnston of West Chester, Ohio and will be embroidered with the sentiment, “Bless and protect this K9 and their partner.” Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.
Blek and handler Officer Rob Obermeyer have worked together since Blek joined WCPD in 2011. Ciro joined the department in 2015 and has worked with handler Officer Michael Blankenship for just less than a year. Both K9 officers and their handlers participated in the 2017 United States Police Canine Association (U.S.P.C.A.) Regional Trials held in Evansville, Ind. in May. Ciro placed third in Obedience and Blek placed fifth in agility among fields of 28 teams.
The West Chester Township Police Department K9 Unit was founded in 1993. K9 officers are certified for both Patrol and Narcotics work. The department intends to add a third K9 officer to its unit to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of K9 Rex in March 2017.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Mass. 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 2,600 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 2.1 million dollars.
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 donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950. Each vest has a value between $1,744 to $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4 to 5 pounds. There is 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.
For more about the West Chester Police Canine Unit, watch: https://vimeo.com/162426540.