PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police Department's K9, Jango, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s.
Jango's vest is sponsored by fundraiser hosted by Heather McKibben of HeatherFest in Norton, Mass., and will be embroidered with the sentiment "Donated by HeatherFest in memory of Bill McKibben." Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.
Jango is a 2-year-old German shepherd who joined the Pittsfield Police Department in September 2017. He completed Patrol and Narcotic Detection schools and is currently working with his handler, Officer Sondrini, on day shift.
Vested Interest in K9s is a 501c(3) charity located in East Taunton, Mass., 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 this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s has provided over 2,800 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of more than $2.4 million.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the United States, with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950. Each vest has a value between $1,744 and $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4 to 5 pounds.
Vested Interest in K9s provides information, lists events and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at its website, or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.
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