A lucky K9 officer will now have the same kind of protection that his human partner does, thanks to a donation through Associated Humane Societies’ Vested Interest Program.
For Cliff, a German shepherd, and partner Officer Christopher Twitts of the Pine Hill Police Department, this bullet- and knife-proof vest can mean the difference between life and death, which will protect them as they patrol this South Jersey town.
Officer Christopher Twitts and his K9 partner, Cliff
“These dogs are important to keeping our community safe,” said Roseann Trezza, Executive Director, Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park. “They can do what no human officer can, and we are extremely grateful.”
Funded entirely through donations, Vested Interest has supplied protective gear to more than 1,000 police dogs in New Jersey and another 150 or so throughout the nation.
The program began in 1998, after the fatal shooting of a Monmouth County Sheriff Department’s K-9, named Solo. The ultimate goal of Vested Interest is to provide a vest for every police dog that graduates the academy. Unfortunately, the dramatic cost increase for the vests, coupled with a decline in donations to the program is making this goal much more challenging. Each vest costs approximately $825.
K9 Cliff and his partner, Officer Twitts, training.
A majority of the support for the program comes from school groups, civic groups and private citizens. Oftentimes, local K-9 Unit handlers will give demonstrations at meetings or school assemblies in partnership with Vested Interest fundraising activities.
Organizations are encouraged to learn more about Vested Interest by contacting program coordinator Debbie Beyfuss via e-mail or call at 973-824-7080. The Society welcomes tax deductible donations which can be sent to Vested Interest, c/o Society, P O Box 43, Forked River, NJ 08731.