The Pittsfield Police Department’s K9, Jango, will be receiving a bullet and stab protective vest. Police Lt. Gary Traversa says that Jango’s vest is being made possible thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Jango’s vest is sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by Heather McKibben of HeatherFest in Norton, MA. The vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “Donated by HeatherFest in memory of Bill McKibben.” Delivery of the new best is expected within eight to ten weeks.

Jango is a two year old German shepherd who joined the Pittsfield Police Department in September 2017.  He completed Patrol and Narcotic Detection schools, and is currently working with his handler, Officer Sondrini, on the day shift.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA 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. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, the non-profit has provided over 2,800 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 2.4 million dollars.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate. The donation needed to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs.

There are about 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.