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Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office K9 Zeke awarded body armor

Courtesy photo from Mecosta County Sheriff Office

A national nonprofit has taken a vested interest in Mecosta County K-9 Sheriff’s Officer ... literally.

K-9 Officer Zeke received a bullet and stab protective vest from a nonprofit organization.

The donation came from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K-9 Zeke’s vest is sponsored by Sharon M. Peters, of Grosse Pointe Shores, and was embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of Det. Lt. Richard J. Scott.”

“It’s the same concept built with Kevlar, our vests are built with Kevlar as well for protection from firearms, some protection against bladed weapons. It’s very similar; it would offer basically the same protection,” Deputy Chad Thompson said.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., is a charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other aid to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest has a value of $1,744 to $2,283, and weighs an average of 4-5 pounds.

Thompson said they both go through extensive training. (I don't think you need this phrase. I think you can just say "Thompson said he and Zeke go through extensive training."

“We went to a five-week 200-hour basic handler course, it taught me how to learn and read the dog when he shows indications of narcotics,” he said. “The dog will do a passive sign which is where they smell the odor of the narcotics and then they’ll sit, look at you, and waiting for a reward.”

He said having a K-9 unit is important to departments because they find evidence humans may not see or smell.

“I absolutely would say that is, they’re definitely an invaluable asset to any department that has a K-9. Obviously, they can find things that we wouldn’t be able to smell we wouldn’t be able to see, and they have no issue finding those things”

Zeke lives with Thompson and his family he said it’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work people may not see.

“There’s a lot of sacrifices a handler makes, in this case, Zeke lives with me, 24 hours a day, seven days a week so he’s always with me. It takes a lot of time and commitment to handle a K-9.”

Gena is a rising junior at Central Michigan University, double majoring in broadcast and cinematic arts and political science.