Police dog receives protective work vest

Staff Reports

Columbus police dog Max has received a special vest to protect against bullets and stabbings thanks to a nationwide online campaign.

Columbus Police Department’s K-9 unit is among other police departments to benefit from a Groupon event that raised more than $335,000, according to a news release.

Vested Interest in K9s Inc., a nationwide nonprofit organization and charity partner, selected Groupon Grassroots to participate in the “Occasions” campaign to outfit police K-9s with the vests. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty, the news release said.

The campaign lasted Feb. 15 through March 5. The suggested online, tax-deductible donation was $10.

“We’re excited that K-9 Max now has a protective vest as well. We appreciate Vested Interest helping police dogs, and in particular K-9 Max,” said Sgt. Matt Harris, spokesman for Columbus Police Department.

Columbus police’s other K-9s, Rex and Argo, have similar protective vests. They wear them during high-risk situations, Harris said.

Max’s handler, Officer John Searle, learned about the initiative, received approval from police administration to pursue the grant and filled out all the required paperwork, Harris said.

Vested Interest in K-9s, whose mission is to provide bullet- and stab-protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies in the United States, is giving vests to more than 350 police dogs nationwide with the money raised.

New K-9 graduates as well as K-9s with expired vests are eligible to participate in the program, which is open to law enforcement dogs that are U.S. employed, certified and at least 19 months old.