Union County Sheriff’s Office K-9, Caesar, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from a nonprofit organization, the county announced in a press release.
The vest is sponsored by Dr. Julie Tropeano, of Lincroft, through the nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s. Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.
Caesar is a 2-year-old German shepard certified in patrol and narcotics work, and partnered with Officer Nelson Agurto. He became a member of the Union County Sheriff’s Office in May 2018, began his formal police training two months later and successfully completed training in December 2018.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Search and Rescue Unit was formed in 1983 and has provided assistance to county and regional law enforcement agencies for more than 35 years.
UCSO is home to a regional K-9 training academy that has graduated nearly 1,000 K-9 handler teams in patrol, scent and explosives-detection certification. The unit provides services to all law enforcement agencies in Union County, is a member of the NJ Detect and Render Safe Task Force, and regularly assists various federal agencies.
Vested Interest in K9s Inc. is a charity located in East Taunton, Mass., that provides protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The organization was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K-9 officers. Since its inception, it has provided more than 3,500 U.S.-made, custom-fitted, NIJ-certified protective vests to K-9s in 50 states through private and corporate donations at a value of $6.9 million.
The program is open to certified dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed in the United States with law enforcement or related agencies. New K-9 graduates, as well as K-9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.