Group effort helps Dover PD K9 get ballistic vest

Gerome joined the Dover Police Department approximately one year ago and is assigned to Master Cpl. Frank Fioravaniti.  (Submitted photo/Dover Police Department)

Gerome joined the Dover Police Department approximately one year ago and is assigned to Master Cpl. Frank Fioravaniti. (Submitted photo/Dover Police Department)

DOVER — The Dover Police Department’s K9 Gerome will be a little safer when he’s out on future patrols, thanks to the efforts of a Massachusetts organization.

Gerome, one of Dover Police’s three working K9s, has been awarded a ballistic vest thanks to the nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s Inc., a Massachusetts based nonprofit organization, and Armor Express, a Michigan based manufacturer.

Armor Express of Central Lake, Michigan, has an incentive program that for every 15 vests purchased by the charity, a free vest was awarded. Vests were donated to K9s in Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina, Delaware, North Dakota and Arkansas.

Vested Interest in K9s is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts. Its mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests for law-enforcement dogs throughout the United States. Each vest costs $1,050 and has a five-year warranty. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged partners.

Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 1,530 law-enforcement dogs with protective vests since their inception in August 2009. More than $1.4 million has been donated for K9 vests in 49 states.

To raise money, Vested Interest in K9s is selling a signature tank top for a $20 donation; go to www.vik9s.org to purchase. Proceeds will provide bullet and stab protective vests for police dogs actively working without the equipment.

New K9 graduates as well as K9s with expired vests are eligible to apply for the ballistic vests. The program is open to U.S. employed and certified K9s who are at least 19 months of age.

Gerome joined the Dover PD about a year ago and is assigned to Master Cpl. Frank Fioravaniti.

Dover Police said in a press release the K9s are an important part of the Dover Police Department, assisting in apprehensions, tracking suspects, narcotics searches and keeping officers safe.  Obtaining this protective vest will ensure the department’s investment is protected, but more importantly, to protect the K9 wearing it.

For more information, visit www.vik9s.org or call (508) 824-6978. Donations may be made via the website and at Vested Interest in K9s, P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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