WOLFEBORO – The Wolfeboro Police Department's K9, "Riggs," will receive a bullet- and stab-protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the nonprofit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest, sponsored by an anonymous donor, will be embroidered with the sentiment "Be safe as you go into service" and will be worn by Riggs during duty hours.
According to Wolfeboro Police Chief Stuart Chase, Riggs, a Belgian-born, 22-month-old chocolate Lab, joined the Wolfeboro Police Department in March of 2015. He and his handler, Senior Patrol Officer Michael Strauch, graduated from the New Hampshire State Police K9 Academy in June and are now undergoing advanced training in tracking, evidence recovery and contraband recognition and location.
"We consider the K9 program a valuable addition to our service area and an enhancement to the public safety mission here in Wolfeboro. We are grateful to Vested Interest in K9s for providing this extra measure of protection for Riggs," Chief Chase said.
Chase noted the K9 program has been funded by private donations. Oliver, an 8-year-old boy, provided the incentive to research funding sources for K9 vests when he donated his allowance on two occasions.
Vested interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts, 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 nonprofit 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. has provided more than 1,600 protective vests in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over $1.5 million. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, Michegan.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 19 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
The suggested donation to provide one protective vest for law enforcement K9s is $1,050. Each vest has a value of $1,795 to $2,234, has a five-year warranty and weighs between 4 and 5 pounds. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s in the United States.
For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, 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 P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.