WALLINGFORD — The police department’s dog Tate will have extra protection on the job after a donation of a bullet and stab protective vest.
Tate, the department’s dog since October 2016, received the vest through a donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K-9s Inc. The organization, located in Massachusetts, strives to provide bullet and stab protective vests to law enforcement dogs throughout the country.
Tate is 2 years old and trained in narcotic detection, evidence recovery and tracking. Dogs must be at least 20 months old to be fitted with a vest, which weighs between 4 and 5 pounds.
Tate is commonly kept on a leash when tracking and is trained to be passive. Most of the reported incidents of police dogs being harmed in the line of duty have occurred when they are tracking a suspect and engage in take-down behavior.
Wallingford police officer Lou Brangi submitted the application to get a vest. Brangi said the vest will be useful, but like any piece of equipment, it will be used judiciously.
"You never know what you're going to get," Brangi said about responding to calls.
Since its inception, the organization has provided agencies with more than 2,600 vests. Each vest is valued at about $2,000.