Georgia Southern University Police Department’s K9 “Bear” has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest was sponsored by Optima Energy, Inc. and embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by Optima Energy.”
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c(3) charity located in East Taunton, MA 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 non-profit 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, Inc. provided over 3,100 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million dollars.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. 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.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283, and a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4-5 lbs.There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.