Keizer’s got some lucky dogs

KPD Officer Scott Keniston has been with the department since 2007 and a K9 handler since 2009. K9 Blitz is a Belgian Malinois. Blitz is responsible for tracking and trailing, building and area searches, discarded article searches, suspect apprehension and officer protection.KPD Officer Jeremy Darst with K9 Max. Darst has been with the department since he was 14 years old, serving as a cadet, where he spent many hours working with the K9 unit as a decoy during training and special events. He is the handler for K9 Max, a 2 year-old German Shepard.

Between the charitable donations from the Ladies of Keizer Elks Club to the generosity of non-profits, Keizer’s K9 unit is well-supplied.  

Keizer Police announced this week that K9 Max will receive a bullet and stab protective vest in about eight to 10 weeks through a collaboration between Jim Huggins of Salem and Massachusetts-based Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. – a nation-wide charity that designs and produces specialized K9 equipment. Max’s vest will be embroidered with the words “In honor of Staff Sgt. Bob Hartsock, USA and K9 Duke.”

Vested Interests in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,600 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations. To qualify, K9s must be at least 20 months old, actively employed and certified.

In addition to the vests, the Ladies of Keizer Elks Club raises money throughout the year through basket auctions and 50/50 drawings for local organizations. The Keizer Police Department was the recipients of this year’s primary donation. KPD said the money will go toward training, equipment and other K9 unit expenses.