Two of Bulloch County’s finest are suiting up in some new gear.
Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office K9s Gismo & Dutch will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc, a 501c(3) charity out of Massachussetts. The organization provides bullet and stab-proof vests to law enforcement dogs across the United States. Since establishment in 2009, Vested Interest has provided more than 2,600 potentially lifesaving body armor vests totalling $2.1 million dollars.
K-9 Gismo is a Belgian Mal and is partnered with his handler, Cpl. Mark Guarino. Dutch is a Dutch Sheppard and is partnered with his handler, Cpl. Ryan Norton. Both Gismo and Dutch are multi-purpose canines. Both are trained in narcotics detection, tracking, criminal apprehension and article searches.
K9 Gismo’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Ty, California City Police Department” and Dutch’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police”.
Sgt. Kirk McGlamery, Supervisor of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Division, said Bulloch County K9s have been in situations with criminal suspects that have been dangerous to both the canines and deputies. “Safety and the protection of all our deputies is paramount, and Sheriff Brown, Sgt. McGlamery and the K-9 teams are very thankful and pleased to have been selected to receive the vests,” the office said in a press release Friday.
The vests are pricey. The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. 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 roughly 30,000 law enforcement K9s across the United States. If you’re interested in donating or volunteering with Vested Interest, you can call 508-824-6978 or visit www.vik9s.org. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.