Thanks in part to a charitable donation from a national non-profit organization, a Cass County Sheriff's Department K-9 now has another line of defense when he's protecting the county's residents.
Zeno, a Malaherd who came to the department in Nov. 2017, is a recent recipient of a bullet- and stab-protective vest through a grant with Vested Interest in K9s Inc., Sgt. Pat Zeider stated.
The vest is sponsored by the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation and is embroidered with the words, "In honor of Axe EOW 11/04/18 & Collin Rose EOW 11/23/16."
Since Vested Interest in K9s Inc. began in 2009, over 3,200 protective vests have been delivered to K-9s across the country, its website states, and the program is open to dogs actively employed in law enforcement or other related agencies who are at least 20 months of age.
And now with this latest donation, all three of CCSD's K-9s are fully equipped with a protective vest, something that Zeider appreciates.
"They [K-9s] are the first line of defense," he said. "They're up in front of us, whether it's tracking or searching. They're officers just like us, and we need to protect them just like they do us. It's great what they're [Vested Interests in K9s, Inc.] doing, that they're out there and have interest in caring about our K-9s."
CCSD Deputy Ryan Preston, Zeno's handler, echoed Zeider's sentiments.
"It's just another tool for us in being able to complete our job thoroughly," he said. "You never know. Each traffic stop, in my opinion, is probably one of the most dangerous calls you can go on because everything is unknown. So to know that every time I get Zeno out of the car that he's protected now makes me feel a lot safer for him."
Reach Kim Dunlap at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5150.