Manchester K9 Bauer gets his own bullet-proof vest
MANCHESTER -; K9 Bauer fits in with the other eight police dogs on the Manchester Police Department now that he has received a bullet-resistant vest thanks to a Manchester resident and Vested Interest in K9s Inc. of East Taunton, Mass.Jane Campbell and her family bought the $950 protective vest after attending a ceremony earlier this year at which the department's other eight police dogs received bullet- and stab-protective vests from Vested Interest.At the time, Officer Jeffrey Fierimonte and K9 Bauer, the department's newest four-legged crime fighter, had just enrolled in the Boston Police K9 Academy. Only K9 academy graduates and police dogs whose vests have expired (they're good for five years) are eligible for the free vests from Vested Interest.Campbell met Fierimonte at the ceremony and learned Bauer had not yet received a vest. As a result, she and her family paid $950 for the vest for Bauer, and it arrived 10 weeks later. It will protect Bauer from bullet and stab wounds as well as blunt-force trauma.Vested Interest is a 501(c) (3) all-volunteer charity which provides bullet- and stab-resistant vests to police dogs throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.The nonprofit was established in 2009 to help law enforcement agencies with the potentially life-saving body armor for police dogs. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest has provided 435 law enforcement dogs with protective vests since August 2009. More than $400,000 worth of the vests were donated in 37 states including Alaska and Hawaii.Two recent events made it possible for the charity to provide 217 vests to K9 crime fighters across the country: In January, a regional Groupon Grassroots campaign naming Vested Interests as a charity partner raised more than $55,000 which covered the cost of 53 vests. A second nationwide Groupon campaign in March raised more than $155,000 covering the cost for 463 vests for police dogs in 30 states.The organization orders the Armor Express vests made in Central Lakes, Mich., exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Mass., which does the custom embroidery on the body armor.New canine graduates as well as canines with expired vests are eligible to apply for the ballistic vest. For more information, visit www.vik9s.org or call 508-824-6978. Donations may be mailed to Vested Interest in K92, P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, Mass. 02718; or through the website.