Indiana State Police K9 safer on the job thanks to donation of protective vest

PENDLETON, Ind. – Indiana State Police K9 Tora has a new bullet- and stab-resistant protective vest.

The new body armor comes from the nonprofit group Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. It came from an anonymous sponsor and is embroidered with the sentiment, “In memory of Mel Nading, Pilot Helo 1.”

Nading was among three people killed when a helicopter crashed in Alaska in 2013. Nading, the pilot, was rescuing an injured snowmachiner with another state trooper when his helicopter crashed. He was credited with saving “hundreds of lives” throughout his career as a rescue pilot in Alaska.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., is a Massachusetts-based charity dedicated to providing armor and other aid to K9 officers around the country. It was established in 2009 and has given out more than 2,800 protective vests in 50 states through private and corporate donations at a cost of more than $2.4 million.

The program is open to K9 officers in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months old. New K9 graduates are eligible.

A protective vest is valued between $1,744 and $2,283. It comes with a five-year warranty and weighs, on average, 4-5 pounds. A $950 donation can provide one vest for a K9. You can learn more about Vested Interest here.