Warwick, RI – May 22, 2020 – The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) has been notified that Rhode Island Airport Police Department’s K9s Sulek and Katy will receive bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Sulek’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Jethro, Canton, OH Police Department”. K9 Katy’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Gabo, Jonesboro, AR EOW 1/16/20”. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers.
K9 Katy is a two-year old female German shepherd/ Belgian Malinois assigned to Officer Thomas Marcello of the RI Airport Police Department. Katy and Officer Marcello were certified in Explosive Detection after completing a lengthy training course at the Canine Training Center, JBSA-Lackland Air Force Base. Katy is always eager to work and loves to play tug with her Kong as a reward when she completes her training missions. She has an excellent nose and tremendous drive. In her off time she enjoys the outdoors, running and chasing tennis balls. Katy has adjusted well to her new home and work environment.
K9 Sulek is a 2.5 year old male German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois certified in Explosive Detection and is assigned to Officer Carlos Jerez of the RI Airport Police Department. Officer Jerez and K9 Sulek completed their training as a K9 Team in 2019 and were certified by the National Explosive Detection Canine Team Program. Sulek looks forward to every day of work and is always eager to enjoy his “Kong” time. When not working he enjoys running in the backyard and chewing on his toy, but has a strong dislike for garden hoses.
In addition to their airport security duty, Rhode Island Airport K9 officers often provide supplemental support at public events, having assisted the Bristol Police Department with the Fourth of July parade concerts and other holiday festivities, have assisted the Providence Police Department with the NCAA tournament, as well as assisting other local police departments in the past when they have received bomb threats.
Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 3,830 U.S. made, custom fitted, NIJ certified protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $6.9 million dollars. The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $960.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.
About T.F. Green Airport: A convenient and low-cost international gateway to New England, T.F. Green Airport (PVD) has a large catchment area with 7.5 million residents within 90 minutes of the airport. It attracts passengers from nearby Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut. PVD is located just outside of Providence, Rhode Island. Well known for ease of traveler access, affordable parking and short lines, T.F. Green Airport was named as one of USA Today’s “Readers’ Choice Best Small Airports” for 2020.
Note to Editors – photos of Katy, Sulek and their Handlers are available upon request