NORWICH – The Norwich’s Police Department’s K9 Nitro will soon be adding to her wardrobe – a bullet and stab protective vest.
According to the NPD, the vest is thanks to a charitable donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
K9 Nitro’s vest is sponsored by an anonymous donor and will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.”
Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.
“The vest will provide the added protection needed for our K9,” said Norwich Police Chief Rodney Marsh. “Nitro is placed in the same dangerous situations as our officers, so she requires the same protection.”
Officer Thomas Miller, who is Nitro’s handler, said Nitro won't wear the vest at all times, but when necessary.
“Nitro will wear it when responding to a crime in progress situation or any complaint involving weapons,” said Miller.
Miller added that he is very grateful for the vest, “especially with all of the police dog injuries and deaths.”
In 2015, Miller and his Nitro received an advanced certification from the Southern Tier Canine Association.
Marsh said that while the K9 is currently working the day shift, she can be called in at any time to assist if needed.
According to records, K9 Nitro has assisted in dozens of drug investigations in the past year. Additionally, Nitro and Miller do demonstrations at schools, for children at Lourdes Hospital, and at churches.
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 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. provided over 1,700 protective vests, in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 1.6 million dollars. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI.
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 $1,050.00. Each vest has a value between $1,795 – $2,234 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout 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 mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.