Image: Laura Easter/The Register

Thanks to a keen observation and some quick action, the Mt. Carmel Police Department has secured a piece of equipment that should help protect its four-legged officer, K-9 dog “Gage.”

Police Chief Jeff Besing on Monday told the Mt. Carmel City Council the bullet proof, stab resistant ballistic vest valued at $900 was given to his department free of charge, and offers the same protections similar vests provide to the human officers on the police force.

Chief Besing and K-9 Officer Steve Perry put the police vest on “Gage” for the first time at Monday night’s city council meeting in the presence of several members of the Wabash County Crimestoppers Board, who have helped support the department’s K-9 program over the years.

Besing said it was local dispatchers Mickie Smith and Casey Smith who noticed an article in the magazine, “The Journal of Emergency Dispatch,” that discussed a woman who had launched an organization to provided vests to police dogs.

The dispatchers told Besing about the article, and he contacted founder Susie Jean’s organization in Socorro, N.M.

“In speaking with Ms. Jean, she graciously provided me with the documentation needed to make our request, and within 3-4 weeks we received this valuable piece of equipment for our K-9 dog, completely free,” Besing said. The vest from Point Blank Body Armor is made from the same material as police officers’ bullet proof vests, he said.

Susie Jean founded her organization, Vest ‘N P.D.P. (Police Dog Protection), after she was moved to action by a story featured on the television program, “America’s Most Wanted,” Besing said. The episode discussed an incident involving a K-9 Officer and his dog chasing an armed suspect.

“The armed suspect shot the K-9 dog, which fell to the ground but got back up and knocked down the suspect, who was taken into custody,” Besing said. “The K-9 dog collapsed at the feet of his handler and died.”

To date, the Mt. Carmel police chief said Ms. Jean has raised funds and donated 554 vests for dogs across 40 states.

Source: Laura Easter for Daily Republican Register.

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