Hawaii's K9 deputies now have
some of the same protection as their human partners following the donation of five
bullet and stab protective vests by non-profit Vested Interest in K9's, Inc. to
the Department of Public Safety (PSD) Sheriff Division.
"The dogs have to literally
have armour because their detection activities go way beyond drug enforcement
and tracking," explained Governor Abercrombie at the unveiling of the new
custom vests at Washington Place.
These vests will protect the
K9's from bullet and stab wounds as well as blunt force trauma.
"The loyalty and service
demonstrated by these animals is worthy of recognition, and we are grateful
they are being given added protection as they work alongside their human
counterparts to enforce the law," said Governor Abercrombie. "These vests
compliment recently expanded protections provided by Act 205, codifying the
term ‘law enforcement animal' into the Penal Code, which I was pleased to sign
into law in June."
State Sheriff Deputy Frank
Lacaden spearheaded the effort to apply for vests for the five K9 members of
the departments team after he heard about Vested Interest in K9's.
"Before receiving this
potentially lifesaving body armor, all our K9 partners had for protection was
the collar around their necks," Ladacen said. "You just never know what kind of
dangerous situation is waiting for our K9 deputies when you send them through
those doors. We are very grateful to Vested Interest in K9's for granting us
our full request for five vests."
The vests the Hawaii Sheriff
K9 team received were paid for through a charity partnership between Vested
Interest in K9's and Groupon Grassroots. The charity allowed individuals to
make an online, $10 tax-deductible donation from March 13 to 20, 2013, through
the Groupon secure website. All funds received were allocated to purchase
ballistic vests for the K9's. At the close of the March event, Vested Interest
in K9's, Inc. raised $155,537, which provided 164 ballistic vests for law
enforcement dogs across the country.
Through private and corporate
sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9's Inc. has provided more than $400,000 in
protective vests to 437 law enforcement dogs in 36 states since their inception
in August 2009.
Vested Interest in K9's
orders the Armor Express vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police
Supply in Massachusetts. Regency Police Supply also custom-embroidered the body
armor the K9's received today.
Each vest is valued at $950
and includes a 5-year warrantee. The New K9 graduates, and K9's with expired
vests are eligible to apply for the vests.
"The costs of these vests are
minimal compared to what advantages may come our way in the circumstances that
call them into play," said Governor Abercrombie.
"Vested Interest in K9'S,
Inc. is proud to have provided each of the Sheriff's Division law enforcement
dogs with protective vests that could potentially save their lives", said Vested Interest in K9 President Sandy
Marcal. "We are very grateful to the donors across the country who helped make
this possible through the Groupon campaign."