On Thursday, March 15, 2012 law enforcement agencies from Weare and Keene, NH paid tribute to the late Joseph L. Benson of Barnstable, MA. during a K9 vest presentation at Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, MA. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc an East Taunton, MA nonprofit presented K9, Patriot of the Keene, NH police department and K9 26, of the Weare, NH police department with bullet and stab protective vests donated by Richard Benson of Weymouth in memory of his late brother, Joseph, who passed away on April 16, 2011.
Joseph L. Benson, was the first director of K9 training for the Boston Police Department from 1962 until his retirement in 1974 and the former Vice President of the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) 1972-1974. He and his wife, Rita owned Northeast K-9 academy in Walpole from 1977-1990. Mr. Benson was a US Marine Corp. veteran, and a recipient of Walter Scott Medical for Valor.
In attendance were Captain Brian Costa, Officer Joshua English and K9 Patriot of the Keene, NH police department and Sergeant Joseph Kelley and K9 26 from the Weare, NH police department and his family, vest sponsor Richard Benson, Rita Benson, widow of Joseph Benson and Heidi Benson, daughter of Joseph Benson and members of Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) all volunteer charity located in East Taunton, MA. whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests for law enforcement dogs in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. Each vest costs $1006 and has a 5 year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially life saving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided 64 police dogs with protective vests in 2011.
The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor.
“About 6 months ago we started offering the embroidery to vest sponsors and it has become quite popular. It’s a sentimental touch and we often see folks donating in memory of a family member or beloved pet,” said President and Founder of Vested Interest in K9s, Inc, Sandy Marcal
“In addition to networking within the community and through social media, we also organize formal vesting ceremonies to connect the vest sponsor with the K9 they have protected.” commented Marcal.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. currently has a list of over 20 police dogs needing vests. They are planning their next fund raising event at Joseph’s Obedience Training School at 55 Jonathan Bourne Drive in Pocasset on April 21, 1pm-5pm. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations and event listings are via the website: www.vik9s.org.