Tupper K9 officer receives body armor donation

Tupper Lake Police Department K9 officer JD wears his new protective vest alongside handler officer Jordan Nason. (Photo provided by Tupper Lake Police Department)

TUPPER LAKE — The Tupper Lake Police Department’s K9 officer JD has received a bullet- and stab-protective vest thanks to a donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc.

K9 JD’s vest is sponsored by Vicki Johnston of Chester, Ohio and embroidered with the sentiment “Protection in memory of Max and Martha Rettig.”

“JD is considered one of our officers,” Tupper Lake police Chief Eric Proulx said. “He deserves the same protection that all our officers receive in the form of issued ballistic vests. For small departments like mine, budgeting for equipment is a cumbersome task with the minimal amount of funds I have to work with. The sponsorship and donation of this ballistic and stab protective vest is instrumental in assisting in keeping JD safe while he is out working in our community. On behalf of officer Jordan Nason and our department, I wish to thank everyone involved in obtaining this piece of equipment for our K9 program,” said Tupper Lake police Chief Eric Proulx.

JD and his handler, officer Nason, have been on active duty together in Tupper Lake since October 2016. Nason has been an officer since 2013. They perform routine patrol duties, assist other area law enforcement agencies and continue to train two days a month in various locations throughout the North Country.

“JD has been instrumental in detecting illegal drugs,narcotics and drug paraphernalia in numerous incidents in the short time that the team has been on patrol,” Proulx said.

“Protection in memory of Max and Martha Rettig” is embroidered on JD’s protective vest (Photo courtesy of Tupper Lake Police Department)

There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s Inc. is a 501(c)3 charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts 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. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers.

Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. has provided more than 2,400 protective vests in 50 states through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over $1.9 million. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, Michigan.

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. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $1,050. Each vest has a value between $1,795 to $2,234 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4 to 5 pounds.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities with the program, call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s Inc. provides information, lists events and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or by mail at P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.