By JOSH NEWTON
Tahlequah Police Department canine officer Bo has worked alongside his partner, Officer Cory Keele, for nearly a year, and in the next few months he’ll be sporting a bullet-proof vest like many of his human counterparts.
Bo, a 3-year-old Dutch shepherd, has worked with Keele on the patrol division at TPD and has assisted in many drug arrests in the past 11 months. He has also been successful in tracking a wanted felon, and spends time with Keele in Tahlequah Public Schools, checking for narcotics and making presentations to classes about the dangers of drugs.
Keele quickly became attached to his four-legged partner last year, and began looking for a way to keep Bo safe while working the streets.
“He’s a valuable asset and friend to me and to the Tahlequah Police Department,” said Keele.
Keele discovered Vested Interest in K9s Inc., an all-volunteer charity that works to provide bullet- and stab-proof vests for law enforcement canines throughout the U.S. Vests are purchased through private and corporate donations, and later given to dogs that are on a waiting list.
Bo’s information was compiled and submitted to the agency by Keele, who participated this month – along with others across the country – in the agency’s Groupon campaign. The fundraiser ultimately helped raise more than $155,000 for the nonprofit’s efforts.
Vested Interest in K9s then chose 163 dogs in 30 states to receive a free bullet- and stab-proof Gemini vest as a result of the campaignm and Keele and Bo are first on the list to receive one.
Each vest costs the nonprofit agency $950, and comes with a five-year warranty. The vests include belly and chest coverage and are outfitted with other important features to help keep canine officers safe and comfortable on the job.