Marshall County, Ind. Officers have had bulletproof vests for years. We know it’s a great way to provide protection no matter what situation they encounter, but sometimes the same can't be said for their partners.
K9’s around the country could have a bulletproof vest but it is usually a luxury item for police departments. Each vest costs $1,000, that’s why the Marshall County Police Department was excited to receive a bulletproof vest this week for their only K9, thanks to a non-profit.
Vested Interest in K-9’s Inc. is a nationwide non-profit group designed to provide working dogs with the appropriate equipment to protect them while they are working on the streets. They have provided about 1074 law enforcement dogs in more than 30 states with these bullet and stab proof vests since 2009.
During its nationwide Groupon campaign they raised more than $335,000 to help “vest” more than 350 K9’s around the county, Arras was one of them.
To get this vest, the police department reached out to this group, sent Arras’s measurements and in a matter of months they received the vest. Each vest is made specifically for each dog.
"It's so important," explains Marshall County Patrolman Brandon Cooper. "We've had traffic stops but we've had a lot of tracks, people run from cars into the woods, it's a lot safer for us to send a K9 in there, but at the same time I'm with the dog and he's there so if I'm going to be wearing a vest why wouldn't we have a vest on him?"
To make them even more unique, each vest bears a tag in memory of K9 Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department. Rocco was killed in the line of duty in January of 2014, so each vest shows how important it is to protect these dogs.
Arras started working with the police department in September 2012. In that time he has been involved in nearly 200 criminal narcotics arrests as well as cash seizures. Arras is a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois and was imported from Holland. Yes, he knows Dutch.
To date, not a single dime of tax payer money has been spent on Arras. All of the money it takes to have Arras and keep him working has come from donations and commissary funds.
"Inmates are literally paying for Arras and paying for his food and taking bad guys off the streets," Cooper continues.
If you want to donate to help all K9’s get these vests or want to learn more, just click right here.