NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, N.C. – A K-9 deputy for the Northampton Sheriff’s Office received a ballistic vest recently and is ready to help fight crime and assist citizens in the county even more now.
According to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, Tommy’s vest will help protect the pup from bullet and stab wounds that could occur while he is on the job and that the vest was sponsored through an anonymous donor after being purchased through a charitable donation from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc.
The 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd is a full patrol K-9 and is trained in narcotics detection, tracking and criminal apprehension.
Deputy Kevin Byrum recently completed six weeks of officer K-9 training at Ventosa Kennels in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, and will be paired with Tommy.
“This donated vest is a great asset for our K-9 officer Tommy,” said Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith. “This donation has saved our tax payers and citizens a large amount of money and will certainly help this agency. We are more than willing to work with this company and others. I would like to thank Vested Interest in K-9’s for their donation and the tremendous help this has benefited our agency and county.”
The donation to provide one protective vest for law enforcement K-9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs.
Vested Interest in K-9s, 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 K-9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K-9s, 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 K-9 graduates, as well as K-9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.