Center Police Department’s K9 Taz to get body armor
Center Police Department’s K9 Taz will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and will be embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Diezel, UMass Amherst Police Department”. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.
K9 Taz is a 4 year old Maliherd who is certified in tracking, but not biting, and narcotics. Taz was donated to the Center Police Department in 2013 by K9 Officers, and was assigned to Officer Steve Thornburgh in July of 2016. In August 2016, hyper and energetic Taz tested his handlers’ stamina while attending the Houston K9 Academy, completing 120 hours of training and certification. K9 Taz enjoys training days and relaxes by playing fetch and chewing his ball.
Vested Interest in K9s, 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 K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 2,800 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 2.4 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 $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. 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.