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I first read about Vested Interest In K9s a few years ago, and I was amazed at how much Sandy Marcal had accomplished in the name of keeping four legged officers safe. Over the months, I’ve posted many pawsitive (see what I did there?!) stories about events VIK9s was holding, and I wondered how many hundreds of people she had helping her in her huge organization.
I mean, come on. How much can ONE WOMAN do?!
I thought, “doggone it,” (ok I’ll stop but I didn’t even get to use ‘furrrocious’!) “I’m going to ask her,” and I quickly discovered that when you put a great idea together with a big heart, one person can indeed accomplish great things.
How did you get started working with the K9′s?
I saw a movie on Animal Planet called “RAIN” about a Vietnam war dog about 13 years ago. As an animal lover it piqued my curiosity about the working dogs. I learned that in most cases the law enforcement agencies budgets don’t stretch far enough to cover protective equipment or in some cases the K9 programs .
Is VIK9s something you started all on your own?
Yes, I began the nonprofit corporation and we have three board members (including me)
Why did you want to help them?
I have been an animal lover all my life and the working dogs put their lives on the line for their communities and partners. It just made sense to me that they have the same level of protection as their human partner.
How can others help you in your efforts?
We work with businesses who may wish to host an event and individuals in the community by offering them fundraising suggestions. Our website has a page called “HOW TO HELP”.
old. One 12 year old girl has already raised funds to outfit three police dogs with vests and is working on her fourth.
A 7 year old girl and her family held a memorial day event which took in over $1400 in an afternoon.
Our volunteers are the foundation of our organization. They help spread the word and assist at fund raising events, social media networking, flyer distribution, grant writing, making phone calls. We are always seeking additional volunteers to help join our efforts.
What is your biggest challenge with this type of work?
This type of work is very fast paced. I think the biggest challenge is finding volunteers who feel comfortable setting up and running events. I find more people are happy to donate their time to volunteer at an event .
What kind of fundraisers does VIK9s hold, and is it only K9′s within a certain area that you are able to help or do you work with police agencies all over the country?
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. holds events at local venues, online events and with the help of fundraising partners (ie, Avon Products, Verizon Fios, Gold n Silver, Silpada Jewelry). Our efforts began in Massachusetts, our home state, and we expanded about 6 months ago to assist K9s throughout the United States. Most recently we provided vests for police dogs in Honolulu, Hawaii. We still focus on our home state initially and assist other states as the funds allow.
How do you decide which dog will receive a vest? Do you approach the police agency or do the officers approach you?
We maintain a waiting list. For general donations, we will vest the dogs in order of our waiting list. If a donor is generous enough to cover the cost of a vest which is $1006, we will give them an opportunity to select which K9 they would like to donate it to. Through networking we learn of the agencies who are in need of vests.
In this tight economy, do you find that people are still willing to help out the four legged officers?
We have been fortunate,even in these tough times, people have been generous. In 2011, we were able to provide vests for 64 working dogs throughout the United States.
One question I’ve ALWAYS had about this situation: why do PD’s invest so much time and effort and education into their K9′s yet don’t go that step further and buy a $800-$900 vest? With the thousands they’ve already invested, it seems like such a small price to pay to protect their officer.
What people may not realize is that the departments may not be in a position to fund the K9 program and the officer who will obtain the police dog is actually fundraising through a K9 fund for the cost of the dog and to outfit the cruiser with a cage system and hot-n-pop alarm system, veterinary care and food.
I noticed on your Facebook page that you were encouraging people to vote for K9 Gomo in the Hero Dog awards. Tell us a little about that.
I nominated K9 Gomo for the 2012 American Humane Society Hero Dog Awards and we need your votes to get to the finals. Officer Darvin Anderson, Gomo’s partner will attend the
awards ceremony in October and accept on behalf of Gomo who passed away the end of this year. Every VOTE counts. There are 15 other law enforcement dogs nominated who are ALL HERO’s. K9 Gomo is Vested Interest in K9′s special hero. K9 Gomo and Officer Darvin Anderson participated in a public service announcement for Vested Interest in K9s as well as appearing at many of the organizations events.
K9 Gomo (AND Officer Anderson!) was obviously a well loved dog as you can see by this gift to Officer Anderson
Thanks for your time, Sandy, and last but not least, if the readers of this website would like to donate to the K9s cause through your organization, how can they do that?
Tax deductable donations may be sent to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website: www.vik9s.org
Vote and vote often!
Gomo, the beloved Brockton police dog that died late last year and whose service attracted law enforcement from all over the state, is in the running for the American Humane Society’s Hero Dog Awards.
This is the second year the society is sponsoring the award, which involves hundreds of dogs from across the country in several different category. Gomo has been nominated in the law enforcement/arson dogs group. A winner in each category as well as an overall winner will be named.
Gomo, a 12-year-old Czechoslovakian shepherd, worked as a police dog for more than a decade. His specialty was finding firearms and people.
The Streator Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is in the middle of raising funds to support a drug-detecting dog for the Streator Police Department.
Police Chief Jeff Anderson told the drug coalition Thursday the $9,500 German shepherd named Cliff arrived from Germany last week. The police dog is expected to train for five to six weeks in Indiana, and then an officer will be selected to train an additional two weeks with the dog. Anderson has not chosen an officer yet as caretaker.
The coalition will host a golf play day 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at Twin Creeks Golf Course to help cover the cost of the dog. The four-person best ball scramble will be $50 to enter and include 18 holes, cart, food and prizes, including chances to win an autographed White Sox jersey, ball or tickets.
This past Mother’s Day, a 15-year-old boy saved his mother and two younger brothers from a partially submerged vehicle in Bayou Caillou near Houma.
Hunter Marie’s heroism as well as the extraordinary actions of several other civilians and State Police employees were recognized Wednesday at the Louisiana State Police 2010 Annual Awards Ceremony.
The vehicle Hunter Marie and his family were riding in landed in the bayou after it crashed into another vehicle that had slammed on its brakes, the teenager said.
Marie said he got out of the vehicle through an open window and rescued his 6- and 8-year-old brothers first.
He said he couldn’t pull his mother out of the vehicle because her seat belt was jammed, so he held her head above the water until emergency personnel arrived.
Enjoy your retirement, Spirit!
Around 50 supporters honored the canine who has served as an explosives detection dog in the Pocatello Police department for seven and a half years.
Sgt. Eric Anderson, the dog’s handler, received a promotion and decided it was a good time for Spirit’s retirement.
Police Chief J.R. Miller said police dogs have about seven years of effective service.
The department currently has one other EOD dog, and three dual purpose K-9s.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE/VIDEO HERE <–the video is very cute so make sure you check it out!
When Wisconsin Dells Police K-9 officer Gevaar retires at the end of March the department isn’t expected to see a dip in the quality of its four-legged officer.
Eddie, a long-haired German shepherd who will be 2 years old when he starts in May, is one of the five best dogs his trainer in Campbellsport has ever worked with.
Much like Felon, the department’s first K-9, Eddie is a serious, hard-working dog, said Lt. Brian Landers, who was Felon’s handler.
“He’ll be sociable and able to walk downtown, but he has a lot of the same personality as Felon,” Landers said. “He’s a no-nonsense type of police dog, and that kind of dog you can’t put with just anybody.”
That’s one of the reasons why Chief Bret Anderson chose officer Scott Albrecht to be Eddie’s handler.
Gevaar, an 83-pound Dutch shepherd imported from Holland, was the department’s second K-9 officer and has been on-duty since 2005.
He is retiring partly because his age is creeping up on him — he turned eight in November — but more so because he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease two years ago. The disease has caused arthritis that is bearable most days but debilitating others.
“There are days when you’d think he’s three or four, and days when you think, ‘How much time does he have left?’ ” his handler, officer Jesse Weaver, said.
Chief Bret Anderson said Gevaar’s career got off to a rocky start — he went through two handlers before Weaver ultimately took over — but with that considered, he has served as expected.
Most K-9s will train with one officer and then stick with that officer throughout his approximately five- to eight-year career. Gevaar started training with one officer, but it didn’t work out, so he continued training with former K-9 handler Brian Landers.
A new member of the Charles City Police Department is in training and his specialty is sniffing out drugs.
This new member has come a long way. He’s a Black Lab that’s from a rescue shelter and now a member of the Charles City Police Department.
He’s sill in training with an officer, but is finally making his debut to folks in Charles City.
His name is Midnight.
Care taker, Zach Eckenrod said, ”he’s a duel purpose dog; a drug and tracking dog, so of course we can use him to search vehicles and houses with warrants and he’ll be able to find people if they’re lost.”
He is the first K-9 for the department, and getting him here involved grant money from former talk show host Jenni Jones and community donations.
The police department says the desire for a drug dog started with the evening shift workers.
Lieutenant Hugh Anderson said, ”we deal with a lot of things that are narcotics involved so when we do somethings we can find em in the car and we can search the car with a dog is just another tool.”
He’s learning English commands and how to search for narcotics.
Officer Eckenrod said that the training is actually more beneficial to him because he learns how to read midnights behaviors when he’s searching for drugs.
Eckenrod said, “he won’t be put in situations where he’d be putting down criminals, whenever we take him out of the car and have him search the area or scene is gonna be safe…he’s not an attack dog.”
The department says the dog is another tool in the fight against drugs.
Lieutenant Anderson said, ”I hope it makes the community a better place that it tells the people who are dealing drugs in the community to get out of the community. We’re here and have another tool to use now, you wanna deal drugs, don’t do it in our community.”
Officer Eckenrod says Midnight is riding with him now on shifts, but will officially begin making calls when they are both certified in February.
By Natalie Tendall
At 91 years of age, sworn auxiliary officer Alma Anderson still reports for duty at State Police Troop F Barracks every Friday.
She’s not out on the road, stopping crime, although she does have a badge number. She’ll file a report and make up a case docket, among other clerical duties, her eagle eye rooting out others’ mistakes. She will also joke around with fellow clerical staff, flirt with troopers, and generally make her outsized presence felt.
“They cater to me, as though I’m a little kid,” she says of her coworkers.
“It’s because we all love her,” head clerk Sharon Handy explains. “She’s very feisty, but good feisty. She keeps us on our toes.”
Before she started volunteering with Troop F, Anderson, a New Britain native, volunteered for 40 years at New Britain General Hospital, 25 of those years while working at Fafnir Ball Bearing Co., also in New Britain.
Her husband Kenny Anderson, who passed away in 2000, first became a sworn auxiliary officer, starting to volunteer for state police in the 1950s by patrolling the waters for stolen boats.
In the 1980s, Alma Anderson followed suit after she learned that help was needed processing mug shots. She offered her services, and she took the job seriously, even asking troopers the exact eye color of the arrested person: Brown or hazel?
Sometimes, she would recognize the person in the mug shot. Oh, that’s so-and-so’s son, she would think.
“Some of the kids I knew … (but) I’m not naming any names,” she said.
Anderson has three children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. In addition to volunteering for state police, she is known to play bingo at the Elks Lodge late into the night, former state trooper Tommy Heinssen teases.
“It’s only 10 o’clock at night,” she says. “That’s not late.”
Beloved by troopers, Anderson says someone will always come over to shovel snow from her driveway on their off time.
“She’s the matriarch of Troop F. Her dedication, commitment and selflessness are unsurpassed. She’s a great lady,” said state police Lt. Scott Eckersley.
The number of auxiliary officers these days is dwindling.
The volunteer program, started in 1941 as a way of guarding the shoreline against possible invasion on the eve of World War II, continued until 1988, when state police stopped recruiting and training them because of increased training requirements.
At this time last year, there were only 56 auxiliary troopers left, the program dying through attrition.
But, at least one auxiliary trooper will be around a while yet. Dec. 4 marked Anderson’s 25th year of service with Troop F, a day celebrated with proclamations from Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, cake and a luncheon catered by Lino’s Market in Durham all what she referred to as “hullabaloo.”
And Anderson has no thought of retiring from her volunteer position.
“As long as I can keep going, I keep going,” she says.
By Hannah Vahl
The sheriff of Tarrant County is bucking the trend of issuing Tasers to his deputies even as Texas’ largest metropolitan law enforcement agencies continue to adopt the use of the weapon.
Sheriff Dee Anderson says he was concerned that an officer might cause someone’s death with a Taser. Anderson says he conducted his own research in which Tasers were used. He said in cases where people have health issues or who have used alcohol or drugs, the electric shock could be deadly.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Anderson sought advice from Tarrant County Medical Examiner Dr. Nizam Peerwani in making his decision.