SYRACUSE -- The police department soon will be the first in Utah to benefit from a gift of bulletproof vests for its canine officers, Kade and Drake.
The dogs will be receiving ballistic vests in the next few months, thanks to a nationwide Groupon event.
The vests will be a gift from Vested Interest in K-9s. Inc., a nonprofit organization and charity partner selected by Groupon Grassroots to participate in raising funds.
Sandy Marcal, president of Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc., said she started the effort in Massachusetts 13 years ago, providing vests for dogs in her state, an effort she has expanded to include dogs from across the country. She said Kade and Drake are the first dogs she has outfitted in Utah.
"(The vests are) an item of equipment that is hard to get because of limited funding," said Syracuse Police Chief Garret Atkin. "We're very grateful for them selecting us. We do believe it will keep our service dogs safer."
Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle said the gifts are appreciated.
"This is a great opportunity for our police department," she said. "Our canines are a great asset. Anything we can do to protect them as they look to protect our residents is a good thing."
For an online $10 suggested donation, those who participated purchased a Groupon tax-deductible donation through a secure website.
All funds were allocated to purchase ballistic vests for police service dogs that put their lives on the line for the community and their partner, states a news release from Syracuse police.
More than $155,000 was raised, making it possible for Vested Interest in K-9s Inc., to provide vests for 163 police service dogs in 30 states, according to the release.
Vested Interest in K-9s Inc., is a 501c(3), all-volunteer charity in East Taunton, Mass. Its mission is to provide bullet- and stab-protective vests for law enforcement dogs throughout the United States.
Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.
Vested Interest in K-9s Inc., currently has a list of more than 20 police dogs needing vests.
For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 508-824-6978 or visit vik9s.org.