Feb 6, 2020
Kuko and Koda, Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) K9s, are better protected now that they’ve received ballistic vests from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. This non-profit organization provides bullet- and stab-protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the country; they have vested 3,712 K9s in all 50 states since 2009 at a value of $6.9 million.
Although DSD doesn’t patrol or arrest (the Denver Police Department does that), we run the Denver jails (Downtown Detention Center and Denver County Jail), as well as the Vehicle Impound Facility, and assist with security for the District and County Courts and security at the Denver Health & Medical Center. There are plenty of potentially harmful situations that our K9s may encounter on a regular basis and their safety is of utmost importance, as is the safety of all officers in our community.
[Above image: K9 Kuko in his protective vest.]
The DSD K9 Unit consists of four narcotic detection dogs, including Kuko and Koda, and two explosive detection dogs. In addition to their regular duties, Kuko and Koda assist other law enforcement organizations throughout the state. Anticipating dangerous circumstances, Deputy Curry, Kuko’s handler, was prompted to fill out an inquiry form, complete an internal review, and submit requested documents to obtain a vest for Kuko, and then Koda.
Each vest is valued between $1,744 - $2,283, comes with a five-year warranty, and weighs between 4 – 5 lbs. Private and corporate sponsors donate between $960 - $985 (as of 3/1/2020) per vest and have the option to choose one of seven sentiments to be embroidered on the chest section of the K9’s vest. Koda’s vest reads “In honor of K9 Blade, Lake County K9 Association,” and Kuko’s vest reads, “Born to love–Trained to serve–Loyal always.”
[Above image: K9 Koda in her protective vest.]
This program is open to dogs who are at least 20 months of age and actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies. New K9 graduates and K9s with expired vests are eligible to participate. With an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the U.S., Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. will be around for a long time.
To find out how you can support Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., visit their website, call 508-824-6978, or mail your inquiry to PO Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.
As for the DSD K9 Unit, Deputy Curry will continue to work with this organization to provide body armor vests for the remaining four K9 Unit dogs. As they’re awarded vests, we’ll post their photos on the DSD Facebook page, so make sure to like our page and stay tuned!
Written by Daria Serna
Communications Director, Denver Sheriff Department