By Lt. Edward Mazariegos, AA/Public Information Officer
Salinas Valley State Prison
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation K-9s Oscar and Ozzy will receive bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vests are sponsored by Monterey residents Joanne and Bruce Crist. K-9 Oscar’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “To all the pups I’ve loved before” and K-9 Ozzy’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “For all the pups who gave their all.”
Officer Steven Newcomb and Oscar have been working together since June 2015 at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP).
Oscar is a 3-year-old male black Labrador certified in narcotics detection.
Officer Tommy Flores and Ozzy have been working together since January 2015.
Ozzy is a 2-year-old male black Labrador also certified in narcotics detection.
As part of the Investigative Services Unit, both officers and their service dogs actively search for illegal narcotics throughout the institution. Not limited to SVSP, the team provides outside assistance to various other local law enforcement agencies with search warrants, parole and probation searches.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA, whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 1,600 protective vests, in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over $1.5 million. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 19 months of age. New K-9 graduates, as well as K-9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
The suggested donation to provide one protective vest for law enforcement K-9 is $1,050. Each vest has a value between $1,795 to $2,234 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K-9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.