Sheriff’s office K9 receives body armor donation

Polk County Sheriff’s Office K9 Thor shows off his new bullet and stab protective vest provided by non-profit Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

One of Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s furriest combatants against drugs and crime has a little more protection these days thanks to a donation from a special group.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office K9 Thor has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Thor’s vest was embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love-Trained to Serve-Loyal Always.”

Chief Deputy Jonathan Blackmon said Thor, a Belgian Malinois, is trained to sniff out drugs as well as chase and stop suspects when out in the field to help deputies and other officers.

The agency’s other K9, a bloodhound named Remy, received a vest from the group just a few months ago. Remy specializes in tracking missing persons as well as sniffing out drugs and narcotics.

Both dogs have been in the service of the sheriff’s office for two years with deputies Mike Stewart and Casey Blackmon as their handlers.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity 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. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9s is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified.

Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 3,970 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations.

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old, actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty. 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 donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.

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