GALLIPOLIS — The K-9 Korps 4-H club once again outfitted another Gallia County police dog unit Thursday with a bulletproof vest in its mission to provide protection to police officer’s best friends.
According to group advisor Brea Elliot, with community assistance and the help of other 4-H clubs, the “Korps” raised the $800 and purchased a vest for Gallipolis police officer Lt. Matt Champlin’s canine companion, Kris. The vest was purchased from the Ohio Chapter of Vesting America’s Police K-9s, run by Candace Jacks, of Dayton.
“I am very appreciative of the K9 Corp 4H club for purchasing a new ballistic vest for K9 Kris,” Champlin said. “The K9 program is one in which our department relies on to provide both crime detection and prevention, along with public relations to our citizens. Oftentimes, K9 Kris assists our officers in high-risk situations where his health is compromised. With the addition of this piece of equipment, we have added a level of safety to protect our four-legged partner. To see a group of our county’s youth take it upon themselves to raise money in an effort to protect our police canines speaks volumes to their character and the relationships that we are building with our young citizens.”
The Ohio chapter is just one organization under the umbrella company Vesting America’s Police K-9s. The VAPKK9s has a partnership with TREAD Armament and Weaponry of Washington, Utah. Typically, a vest of the quality purchased by the 4-H club costs around $1,500, but through partnerships the group was able to purchase the vest for nearly half that.
The vest Kris received is constructed by Bullet Blocker of Boston. The vest is the lightest on the market and weighs around 2.5 pounds. It is flame resistant and has 13 layers of Kevlar. By comparison, other vests can reach around $1,500 and weigh four to six pounds. These vests have been reported to stop a four-inch stabbing blade, a .44 Magnum, 9mm and .45 slugs. Supposedly, the vest can protect against hollow-point ammunition.
The group has previously purchased vests for other police dogs in the county and is intending to purchase its third vest this week. Elliot extended thanks to Gene and Peggy Wood, Jason and Tracy Winters, Alexis Wothe, Vince and Joyce Hill, Xtreme Dreams 4-H club, For His Glory 4-H club, Sundance Kids 4-H club, Aftershock 4H club and Twilight 4-H club.
K-9 Korps members consist of Jerilyn Darst, Christopher Menzel, Darius Pishvazadeh, Gage Smith, David Spiers and Abigail Stover. Group advisors are Jerry Darst, Brea Elliot, Jonathan Elliot and Beth Menzel.
The group is continually receiving donations and support from the public. They can be contacted at www.facebook.com/penniesforprotection, K9Korps4Hclub@gmail.com or by calling 740-645-3055. The club has a GoFundMe page under the “Pennies for Protection” name and an account with Ohio Valley Bank for donations.