The next time Connecticut State Police canine Porter steps out into the field, he’ll be sporting some of the same protective gear as his human partner.
Porter is the happy recipient of a new bullet and stab protective vest, which was donated from Vested Interest in K9s, a not-for-profit organization. The vest was sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by Kim Dance in Harwington and is expected to be ready for the state police dog within eight to 10 weeks.
Once completed, Porter’s new vest will be embroidered with the quote “This gift of protection provided by Protect a Hero.”
According to police, each vest has a value between $1,744 and $2,283 and will protect Porter from most bullet and stab situations. The vests weigh an estimated five pounds and come with a five-year warranty. Police said that more than 30,000 law enforcement canines throughout the country have been outfitted with similar equipment.
Porter, a 6-year-old German Shepherd who has been assigned to Trooper First Class Matthew Warren at Troop F in Westbrook since January 2014, is certified in tracking, evidence recovery and apprehension. Officials noted he is also certified in search and rescue, disaster recovery, cadaver specialty and has been a member of the Emergency Services Unit since September 2014.
Vested Interest is a charity located in East Taunton, Mass. 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 was formed in 2009 and has since handed out more than 2,800 protective vests, costing an estimated $2.4 million.
Police said that the program is open to dogs actively employed in the United States 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.
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