Locust K9 Rico to receive body armor

Locust Police Department’s K9 Rico will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

K9 Rico’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.” Delivery is expected within eight weeks.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity 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.

Locust Police K9 Rico will receive body armor thanks to a donation. (Contributed)

This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted and NIJ certified.

Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided more than 4,970 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations.

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $985 will sponsor one vest.

Each vest has a value of $1,800, weighs an average of 4-5 pounds and comes with a five-year warranty.

For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 508-824-6978.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org.

K9 Rico was born in The Netherlands and began his tour with Locust Police Department in 2021. Rico specializes and is fully certified in drug and article search/detection as well as tracking searches for victims and suspects.

Since his tour began, Rico has been involved in numerous detection and tracking searches with a high level of accuracy, according to Police Chief Jeff Shew.

Rico also participates in multiple community events and K9 presentations throughout the year. His handler is Cpl. Dwayne Dietz.

“We have been elated with the contributions that Rico has made to our department both in enforcement efforts and with community relationship building,” Shew said. “Rico is a vital member of our department and we are so appreciative of Vested Interest in K9s for their donation of body armor for Rico to help keep him safe during the course of duty. It’s an outstanding organization for what they do for law enforcement K9s.”