by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (April 23, 2019) – Lansing Police Department’s K9 Officer Rico has received the bullet and stab protective vest he was granted in February, thanks to a charitable donation from the nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest was sponsored by the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation and embroidered with the sentiment “In honor of Axe EOW 11/04/18 & Collin Rose EOW 11/23/16.”
Officer Rico’s vest was custom built for him and provides coverage to all his vital organs without reducing mobility. The lightweight (4–5 lbs) design includes a breathable Dri-Lex® mesh that is both comfortable and durable. The vest comes with a five-year warranty from the manufacturer. Rico will wear it when he is conducting building searches, tracking suspects, and responding to any call for service that might place him or his partner, Officer Keith Haan, in danger.
Lt. Scott Bailey, who has unofficially served as Officer Rico’s PR agent during the grant application and acceptance process, relayed this statement from Rico: “Putting on the protective vest for the first time was a little ruff, but I’m ready to work!”
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 potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers.
Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 3,300 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million. The regular price to purchase a K9 vest is around $2,000. Through an exclusive partnership with the vest manufacturer, Vested Interest in K0s, Inc. can provide a vest for a donation of $950.
The program is open to certified dogs who are at least 20 months of age and actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
An estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s serve throughout the United States.
For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities with Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., call 508-824-6978 or visit www.vik9s.org.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination:
- Online at www.vik9s.org/make-a-donation
- Mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718