Wednesday, May 25, 2016
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Union City Police K9, Newfield, with his new bullet and stab protection vest on. The department received the vest through a grant.

By Jon Watje
Managing Editor

The Union City Police Department was awarded a grant that will benefit its four-legged officer.

Capt. Robert Ague said the department recently received a bullet and stab protection vest for its K9, Newfield, thanks to the efforts of Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization.

"The made-to-order vest was recently delivered and will protect the K9 from bullet and stab wounds as well as blunt force trauma," Ague said. "Our officer, Scottie Brothers, filled out a grant application for it and we received it, totally free of charge."

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) all-volunteer charity located in East Taunton, MA. Their mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests for law enforcement dogs throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950.00 and has a five year warranty.

The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 435 law enforcement dogs with protective vests since their inception in August of 2009. 

Over $400,000 in K9 vests have been donated in 35 states including Alaska and Hawaii.

Two recent events made it possible for the charity to provide 217 vests for four-legged crime fighters across the country.  In January of 2013, a regional Groupon Grassroots campaign naming Vested Interest in K9s as a charity partner raised over $55,000, which allowed the donation of 53 K9 vests and a nationwide Groupon campaign in March of 2013 raised over $155,000 providing vests for 163 K9s in 30 states.

The organization orders the Armor Express vests made in Central Lakes, MI exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, MA. Who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor.

New K9 graduates as well as K9’s with expired vests are eligible to apply for the ballistic vests.

Capt. Ague said his department continues to write grants in hopes of obtaining much-needed equipment.

"Writing grants is a non-stop process for us," he said. "We have had a lot of experience doing it since we sent some people to grant-writing school."

He said he is currently working on a grant to receive a new Chevrolet Tahoe for the department.

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