Each day on duty, RDU’s two most popular employees put their noses to the ground and grind out a four-paw effort to keep everyone at the airport safe. Now, these beloved officers are receiving a generous uniform upgrade that will enhance their own safety as well.
Officers Martin and Zulu joined the RDU Police Department earlier this year when RDU relaunched its K9 program. The department’s K9 teams are responsible for a range of tasks from explosive detections to community policing.
The “hiring” of the new four-legged officers made RDU Police eligible for a donation of ballistic vests to complement the dog’s daily uniforms.
Massachusetts-based charity Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is providing the vests. The nonprofit works to provide protective gear to K9s at law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Since its start in 2009, the organization has provided 1,110 law enforcement dogs with protective vests to agencies in 39 states.
Martin and Zulu’s new gear is coming by way of an incentive program offered by Armor Express of Central Lake Michigan. Whereas most new canine ballistic vests retail at more than $2,800, Armor Express provides them to Vested Interest in K9s for only $950.
The company has previously awarded vests in seven states including Oklahoma, Ohio, Washington, Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee. Another company, Regency Supply of Hyannis, Mass., provides the custom embroidery on the vests.
The ballistic vests for officers Martin and Zulu should arrive at RDU in about 10 weeks.
Vested Interest in K9s works with individuals and corporations from around the country to raise money to provide the equipment to police departments.