MPD K-9 unit receives bulletproof vest
By Logan Watson
The Milan Police Department’s resident top dog got some potentially lifesaving gear last week, and we’re not talking about Chief Sellers.
Oakley, the MPD’s narcotics K-9 and partner of Lieutenant Kelvin Whitney, received a bullet and stab-proof vest to keep her safe from desperate criminals in the field.
“It’s basically just like the ones our officers wear every day,” said Lt. Whitney. “She will only wear hers in high-risk situations. It’s too hot to leave it on her all the time.”
Oakley’s vest is rated to withstand up to five rounds from 9mm and .44 Magnum handguns, as well as knife attacks, and offers chest, back and side protection. While none of the MPD’s K-9 units have been attacked in the past, there is always a chance that something could go wrong, especially in dangerous drug raids or when assisting other agencies, like the TBI, ATF and ICE.
The vest, which was provided by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and the Protecting K9 Heroes Fundraiser hosted by Staci Goveia of Lynwood, Illinois, typically retails for close to $2,000 and was donated at no cost to the department in memory of Jethro, a K-9 from Canton, Ohio, who was shot three times by a suspect during a robbery on January 10. A patch on the vest memorializes Jethro and his End of Watch date.
Jethro’s killer was sentenced to 45 years in prison in connection with the shooting, as well as four related burglaries. The incident and resulting national outrage prompted Ohio lawmakers to introduce a bill that would stiffen the penalty for killing a K-9 officer. Governor Bill Haslam signed a similar bill into law last year. “Aron’s Law” changed the penalty for intentionally killing a police, fire or search-and-rescue animal in Tennessee from a misdemeanor theft to a Class E felony.