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Three lucky dogs with New Bern police K-9 units received new bulletproof vests Monday.
At a ceremony at the Eastern Carolina Internal Medicine Center at Berne Square, the three dogs, Clyde, Zorin and Bak,
were nervous and fidgety since it was their first day wearing the vests.
“The dogs have to get used to the vests,” said K-9 handler Christopher R. Lind. Lind handles Clyde, a German shepherd.
The vests, which cost $1,800 each and are customed-tailored, were donated as a show of appreciation from
Eastern Carolina Internal Medicine to the police dogs and their handlers.
T. Chaconas, office manager for ECIM, wanted to get the vests for the dogs to show appreciation to the K-9 units
for the work the dogs do at the facility.
“Whenever we have an alarm, the dogs are here searching the building for intruders,” Chaconas said.
ECIM is located in a 60,000-square foot building. Staff members allow the dogs to train there during
early-morning hours before patients arrive. “The dogs learn how to search a large building with slick floors,
desks, and supplies,” Chaconas said.
The way the dogs received the vests from ECIM came after an employee of the medical facility, Jackie Thompson,
came up with the idea.
The staff at ECIM came up with donations to buy the vests. A non-profit organization called VestN’ PDP
(Police Dog Protection) in New Mexico found a N.C. state grant to help with the purchase.
Officer Jim Rowe, senior handler and trainer and partner to Bak, said the vests are about safety.
“Now the dogs are safe. We appreciate the donation of the vests for our partners,” Rowe said.
Rowe is proud of Bak, who was donated to the police department by the Highway Patrol. “He has been
in service 8 months and already has confiscated a pound-and-a-half of marijuana and cocaine,” Rowe said.
Deputy Police Chief Ed Preston said the vests would not have been possible without the help of ECIM.
“We just didn’t have the money in the budget for the vests,” Preston said.
K-9 officer Thomas Carter was just as appreciative that his dog Zorin received a new vest.
Carter handles the only Belgian Malinois; the other two dogs are German shepherds.