Pinal County Sheriff’s Office K9s Bandit and Niko to get protective body armor donations

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office K9s Bandit and Niko will receive a bullet and stab protective vest as a charitable donation from non-profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. a charity in East Taunton, Massachusetts, provides bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to law enforcement dogs and related agencies throughout the U.S. since it began in 2009, according to a press release.

Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided more than 2,900 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million dollars, the release detailed.

Donating potentially lifesaving body armor for the four-legged K9 officers is a way of assisting law enforcement agencies, the release said of the program open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies.

New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, who are certified and at least 20 months old, are eligible to participate, the release said .

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950; each vest is valued between $1,744 – $2,283 with a five-year warranty; and suits an average weight of 4-5 pounds, the release stated, noting an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the country.

Benefiting from the donation will be K9 Bandit, whose vest, sponsored by Sunland Springs Village “Pet Pals” Club of Mesa, will be embroidered with the sentiment, “Gifted by Sunland Springs Village ‘Pet Pals,’”the release stated.

Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks, the release added.

K9 Bandit, who has been with Pinal County Sheriff’s Office since December of 2015, is a four-year-old Belgian Malinois assigned to work in the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility; trained and certified to detect narcotic odors plus support officers in and outside the adult detention center.

The vest will help protect K9 Bandit while working events of civil unrest in the detention facility and when a violent inmate needs to be taken into custody, the release said.

K9 Niko, who has been with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office since May of 2016, is a nearly four-year-old Belgian Malinois, certified in Narcotics Odor Detection and Patrol Service.

The vest will help protect K9 Niko while assisting patrol and investigations staff searching homes, structures and open areas for violent offenders attempting to evade arrest, the release said.

“These K9s do an incredible amount of work to protect the residents of Pinal County,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb in a prepared statement. “They need the same protection as our deputies and we are thankful for the generous donation made by Vested Interest.”

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 508-824-6978.

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