BARLING, Ark. (KFSM) — Barling Police Department's K-9 Officer 'Hype' will be awarded a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s.
Hype's vest is sponsored by Marie Carmichael of Manila, Arkansas and will be embroidered with saying "Born to Love - Trained to Serve - Loyal Always."
Hype began his career with the Barling Police Department in early February 2019. Barling Police Communications Officer Travis Wilkes spearheaded the efforts to get Hype the vest saying he is passionate about animals and said he believes the newest addition to the department should have the same level of protection the human officers have.
"We are very fortunate to have Hype on our team, and I think we need to do what we can to protect her while in the line of duty. Hopefully, she will never be involved in a lethal situation, but we need to have her protected in the event of a worst-case scenario," Wilkes said.
Wilkes says there are a limited number of places police department's can turn to when it comes to resources for K-9 officers. He said the Barling Police Department is fortunate to be able to partner with Vested Interest in K9s.
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.
"It is a great organization that works very hard, utilizing several volunteers to make sure K9s get the protection they need. It's great to see the work they do in safeguarding the dogs who safeguard us," Wilkes said.
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.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a K-9 officer is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 - $2,283 and a five-year warranty. Visit www.vik9s.org for more information.