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Lansing police K-9 gets Kevlar vest, others need protection

November 19, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Lansing Police Department K-9 has received a gift that may save his life while out in the field.

A German shepherd named Chief received a 5-pound bullet and stab protective vest recently from Vested Interest in K-9s Inc., a nonprofit organization.

He’s the only K-9 on the police force that currently has a vest. Officials are hopeful that five other K-9s they rely on for crime fighting, as well as search and rescue missions, can also obtain vests through the organization.

“If someone wants to assault him or come at him with their hands, they will end up getting the rough end of it,” Officer Rachel Bahl, Chief’s handler, told the Lansing State Journal . “He knows how to protect himself, and he knows how to protect me.”

The other K-9s in Lansing, also German shepherds, in need of vests are Djanjo, Fury, Mako, Duke and Mac.

A K-9 vest is typically valued at around $2,000 because it’s made of Kevlar, a bulletproof material, and has a multi-year warranty.

Lansing police have a budget that covers the K-9 group’s health care, food and training, but there usually isn’t much left for vest purchases, said Sgt. Sean Mills, the department’s K-9 supervisor.

Tim Bastian, of Southgate, sponsored the purchase of Chief’s vest with a $950 donation. Chief’s vest is embroidered with the message “In memory of Janis & Lori Bastian,” both former wives of Tim Bastian. The women died of cancer, Bahl said.

Mills said Lansing’s K-9s shouldn’t be feared by people who don’t break laws and see them around town.

“They are not these biting machines that some people think they are,” Mills said. “Besides our cars, our radios and our body cameras, they are probably the tools we use the most in this department.”

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Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com