HCSO dog vest 4-20CADIZ – Harrison County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Parrish’s K-9 partner, Frea, will have some added protection while on duty when the four-legged crimefighter receives a protective vest through Vested Interest K9 Inc., a Massachusetts-based group that has outfitted hundreds of canine cops since 2009.

“[Frea will get] one stab and bulletproof vest,” Deputy Chris Parrish, Frea’s partner said. “She’s a deterrent for bad guys and she’s a great partner. She’s very obedient and very good at tracking. I feel relieved to know I have something to protect her if we go into a dangerous situation.”

The program expanded nationwide in 2011 with more than 160 vests being distributed last year, but Frea should receive hers within the next four months.

Through private and corporate sponsorships, Groupon Grassroots provided 66 police dogs with protective vests in 2012. It hit a milestone in September by donating $100,000 in protective vests throughout the country, while a regional Groupon Grassroots campaign raised over $55,000 in January and allowed VI to donate 53 K-9 vests nationwide. The organization orders the U.S.-made vests from Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Mass., who also does the custom body armor. New K-9 graduates and those with expired vests are eligible for the organization’s waiting list, which currently stands at more than 20.

The organization is still accepting donations through their Web site: www.vik9s.org and through the mail at P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, Mass., 02718. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 509-824-6978. Tax deductible donations and event listings are via the Web site.

Read the complete story in this weeks print edition of the Harrison News-Herald.