Roseville K-9 officers to receive protective vests

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 16, 2016

 Corporal is a 2-year-old K-9 dog who specializes in detecting explosives.

Corporal is a 2-year-old K-9 dog who specializes in detecting explosives.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville’s four-legged police officers are getting an extra layer of protection while they are out on the job, thanks to a private donation for a pair of safety vests.

Roseville’s two K-9 officers, Corporal and Chase, are each receiving bulletproof and stab-resistant vests, according to Roseville Police Chief James Berlin. The vests are being provided by Vested Interest in K9s, with the $4,600 needed for them coming from sisters Sharon Peters and Patricia Settimo.

In a press release, Berlin said that due to budget limitations, the department was unable to afford the vests on its own.

“In these times of stretched budgets, without (Vested Interest in K9s’) help we simply could not afford the approximately $2,300 cost (apiece) to provide each dog with a vest,” Berlin said in a statement.

Berlin said Peters and Settimo are daughters of retired Roseville Detective Lt. Richard Scott, a “legendary Roseville police detective,” and they had been involved in charities for four years before recently learning that Roseville had two police dogs. They suggested getting in touch with Vested Interest in K9s, he said.

The dogs, both Belgian Malinois, are trained in bomb detection, tracking and narcotics detection. Berlin said that assaults on police dogs — and their deaths in the line of duty — are at record levels.

“Just last week, there was one in Georgia where a man attacked a K-9 and had a pair of brass knuckles on with spikes,” Berlin said. “He severely beat a police K-9 down there. Unfortunately, like their human handlers, we have to go to extreme lengths to protect them from harm.”

Sandy Marcal, president of Vested Interest in K9s, said the vests are custom-fitted for each dog and are good for five years, the same length of time as vests for human officers.

Her organization has been providing grants and dog vests to agencies across the country since 2009, she said.

“These dogs are officers, and they deserve the same level of protection as their human partner,” Marcal said. “They’re protecting their human, their community and their beloved family members, and they deserve to go home at the end of the day.”

Berlin said the dogs are part of the family at the Police Department — and at the handlers’ homes — but it also is important to protect the department’s investment.

“These dogs are expensive, and upkeep is expensive,” Berlin said, noting vaccinations, vet fees, food and appropriate cars as examples. “It’s a huge commitment for departments that have them, and for that reason alone we want to keep them safe.”

The vests will each be inscribed with Richard Scott’s name, he added.

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