NEWS RELEASE from the Maine Department of Public Safety
from Spokesman Steve McCausland - 626-3811
Two State Police dogs, Champ and Merry, are being awarded bullet and stab protective vest thanks to the efforts of a Massachusetts based non-profit organization. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc, VPI Pet Insurance of Brea, CA, and a Sorrento resident have provided the funding for the two vests. The charity received a $950 donation from Madeline Hamersley of Sorrento for the purchase of body armor for Champ. This is the thirteenth dog to receive a vest from Hamersley’s donations. Some of her previous donations have benefited State Police and she also has funded vests for dogs from other police agencies. Merry’s vest is funded from the Pet Partner Referral Program hosted by VPI Pet Insurance. State Police have all of their patrol canines equipped with vests.
Champ and his handler - Trooper Jeremy Forbes, patrol York County as part of Troop A. Champ is also a certified drug detection dog.
Merry and his handler – Trooper Jared Sylvia, patrol in Aroostook County as part of Troop F.
Vested Interest in K9s is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA. whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests for law enforcement dogs throughout the United States. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their canines. Through private and corporate sponsorships Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 1125 law enforcement dogs in 40 states with vests since their inception in August of 2009. The value of the donated vests now exceed $1 million. The Armor Express vests are made in Central Lake, MI exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, MA. who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor.
New canine graduates as well as dogs with expired vests are eligible to apply for the ballistic vests. The program is available to US employed and certified law enforcement dogs that are at least 19 months of age. More information is available on their web site - www.vik9s.org.