Deer Ridge Animal Hospital presented a $1,400 bulletproof vest to Jackson’s police dog, Stryker, last Wednesday.
The two-year-old German shepherd has been a member of the Jackson Police Department for the past year and a half.
When Officer Darrell Sievers, Stryker’s partner, brought him in to Deer Ridge Animal Hospital for a routine visit to see his veterinarian, the staff realized the dog did not have a badge or a bulletproof vest.
Jessica Simms, an employee of Deer Ridge, thought all police officers, including dogs, should be protected.
Simms saw an article in American Profile magazine about Susie Jean and her organization, Vest ’N P.D.P. (Police Dog Protection), Inc. Jean uses her Web site, vestnpdp.com, to raise money for bulletproof vests for police dogs.
The Web site states, “Police dogs risk their own lives not knowing the dangers that face them. They are being killed and injured more frequently than ever. Your donations are strictly utilized for protecting them. Please visit our donation page where you can help save police dogs by providing them with vest protection.”
Simms contacted Jean, and they agreed to work together to get a vest for Stryker.
The vest Simms chose for Stryker is a “high level” one that is comparable by those used by S.W.A.T. teams, said JPD Police Chief James Humphreys.
Simms and other Deer Ridge employees launched a campaign to raise money for the badge and vest.
They had a candle fund-raiser, a Tupperware fund-raiser, held a Pizza Pro coupon fundraiser, had drawings for a Longaberger basket and a dinner at Tractors Restaurant. They also displayed cans on the counter for customers to make donations.
It took just three months to raise $695. Vest ’N P.D.P. Inc. provided matching funds to make up the difference and the vest was ordered through that company. Stryker was measured for the vest, and the wait began.
Vest ’N P.D.P. Inc. does not help with badges, so Simms bought two of them from Guys Big and Tall store in Cape Girardeau for $20 apiece. One hangs from Stryker’s neck on a leather tag. The badges were presented to JPD earlier.
When the vest finally arrived last week, it was presented to Stryker in a small ceremony last Wednesday at Deer Ridge Animal Hospital.
Following the vest presentation, Humphreys presented a certificate to Deer Ridge for its support of the police department.
On behalf of Stryker, Sievers, the JPD, and Deer Ridge Animal Hospital want to thank everyone who supported the project and who contributed toward the badges and vest.