Community raises funds for K–9 officers
Update: The Go Fund Me campaign reached its goal by Sept. 11. Vested Interest in K9s in Massachusetts has agreed to provide the needed vests for the K-9 officers, and Sheriff John Shearon said the funds raise will be used to purchase “kennel cooling systems and other items that will protect our loyal partners.”
By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor
The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office has several four-legged officers that accompany their human counterparts to keep the county safe.
These dogs are specially trained and can find themselves in the line of fire.
After a K-9 officer named Missile was shot while responding to an incident in Thorsby, community member Renee Helms created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for bulletproof vests for the K-9 officers.
“Missile drew fire from the suspect, saving two officers from being ambushed,” Helms said. “The least we can do is help save the K-9 Officers from being killed as well.”
The page has already raised $4,320 of the $5,000 goal. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/f/protect-our-k9-officers to help reach the goal.
“It has been really great, the outpouring of the community,” Sheriff John Shearon said.
He said he and his deputies appreciate how “the community always comes out to support us.”
Shearon said Missile recovered from the gunshot wound and is already back to work. However, the veterinarian told Shearon that it missed killing the dog by a half of an inch.
“These dogs, like missile, they are working dogs … He probably saved a deputy or two the other day,” Shearon said.
In addition to the fundraising page, Helms is also pursuing getting vests through Vested Interest in K9s in Massachusetts. If the K-9 officers meet the organizations qualification and the organization does provide all of the vests needed, then the funds raised will be used to meet other needs for the K-9 officers, Helms said.
She will update the GoFundMe with how the donations will be used.
Shearon said getting vests for the K-9 officers is something that the department had wanted to do, but funding was an issue. The vests actually cost more than the bulletproof vests the deputies wear.
The K-9 officers are also trained for different things, so not all of them are in the same danger of getting shot. Shearon said the drug dogs are usually working when a suspect is already in custody.