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K9 Dina to receive donated bullet, stab-protective vest

Times Observer file photo Warren County Drug Task Force K9 Dina wears a protective vest in this 2020 photo.

Body armor is a key piece of law enforcement equipment.

And it’s important that it fit properly.

One agent of the Warren County Drug Task Force is about to get her first custom-fitted protective vest.

Thanks to a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., K9 Dina of the Warren County Drug Task Force will receive a bullet and stab-protective vest.

The vest is sponsored by the National Police Association and will be embroidered with “Gifted by NationalPolice.org.”

“Since Dina was placed into service in 2019, she has always used ballistic vests that were given to us from retired dogs,” Chief County Detective Tom Kibbey said. “She is currently equipped with a vest from a retired Massachusetts State Police K9.”

That vest, which wasn’t custom-fitted to Dina in the first place, has expired.

“Dina has been sized and fitted and should receive her vest in eight to 10 weeks,” Kibbey said.

“I’m excited that Dina will have a vest that is custom fit just for her,” he said. “Our local K9s are routinely used for extremely dangerous situations and we ask so much of them, it’s only fair that they have the best safety equipment.”

That’s what Vested Interest is all about.

“Protecting K9s is our priority,” according to the Vested Interest website. “It’s not just a tagline, we demonstrate our commitment to protecting K9s by ensuring that the vests we donate to them are of the highest quality, made in USA, with National Institute of Justice certified ballistic panels to provide the maximum amount of protection.”

“K9s are a big investment of time and finances by the community, by the handler, and by the department,” according to Vested Interest. “You cannot put a price on the peace of mind that comes with outfitting their K9 in certified body armor that is manufactured based on the latest design and manufacturing technologies.”

“We are thankful for the Vested interest in K9’s organization for the work that they do for our partners,” Kibbey said.

“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 K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,714 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 and 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 to $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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