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Police K-9 receives new protective gear

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BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Shown is law enforcement K-9 Thor and Officer Mark Riley in action during a dog demonstration. 2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — Thor, the Worthington Police Department’s patrol K-9, is receiving a new bullet and stab protective vest thanks to the efforts of his partner, WPD Officer Colby Palmersheim, and Vested Interest in K9’s Inc.

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“The vest costs $950 and that is with a group contract rate,” Palmersheim said. “If the department wanted to just buy one vest for Thor, it would cost close to $1,400.”

Vested Interest in K9’s Inc. is an all-volunteer charity located in East Taunton, Mass. Its mission is to provide protective vests for law enforcement dogs throughout the U.S.

“I applied for this around early November, and his new vest should be here in 10 weeks,” Palmersheim said. “They looked at Thor’s certificates and accomplishments, and I had to have pictures of him on and off duty.”

Thor saves his current vest for the winter months. With the new one, he will be able to wear it all day and every day while on patrol.

“The vest he has right now is very heavy and it overheats him,” Palmersheim said. “The new one should be much more comfortable, and he can wear it all the time.”

The organization orders the Armor Express vests made in Central Lakes, Mich., which also does the custom embroidery on the body armor.

“From what I hear, they haven’t turned down a dog to get a vest yet,” Palmersheim said.

Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9’s Inc. has provided more than 580 law enforcement dogs with protective vests since its inception in August 2009. More than $570,000 in K-9 vests have been donated in 38 states.

A fundraising event took place in St. Paul throughout the month of October 2013 to collect donations to provide new vests to patrol K-9s across Minnesota. The proceeds provided vests for 11 patrol K-9s from Morrison, Stearns, Hennepin, Dakota and Goodhue counties, as well as the police departments of Hastings, Worthington, Edina, Princeton, Plymouth and New Hope.

New K-9 graduates, as well as K-9s with expired vests, are eligible for the ballistic vests. The program is open to currently employed and certified K-9s who are at least 19 months of age.

The Worthington Police Department will also be expecting a new K-9 at the end of the month. Officer Mark Riley will be the recipient of the new pup, and will go to the Twin Cities for training in March.

“I think Mark will also try and apply for his new dog to get a vest as well, and it will be nice to have two dogs back on duty,” Palmersheim said.

For groups interested in setting up dog demonstrations to see Thor in action, contact Worthington Police Department at 295-5400.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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