SOUTH PORTLAND — The Police Department’s newest K-9 partner received a bullet- and stab-proof vest, thanks to a charitable donation.

Creed, who recently turned 2, and his handler, Officer Katie Thurlow, completed patrol school and were certified as a Patrol Team in 2018. The department’s third K-9 is expected to become certified in drug detection this year, according to Lt. Frank Clark. 

Both of the department’s other dogs, Trigger and Zak, previously received protective vests from Vested Interest in K9s.

Vested Interest in K9s is a nonprofit based in East Taunton, Massachusetts. Its mission is to provide protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The organization was established in 2009.

Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 3,200 protective vests in 50 states through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million. The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies. Dogs must be certified and at least 20 months old; new K-9 graduates, as well as K-9s with expired vests, are eligible.

Creed’s vest was sponsored by Madeline Hamersley of Sorrento and embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of Dorris Wood Farrar.” This is the third SPPD K-9 vest Hamersley has sponsored, according to Clark.

According to SPPD, there are an estimated 30,000 K-9s throughout the United States. 

“They would die for us, so we really feel we should be providing them with the equipment to protect themselves,” Clark added.

The average cost of a protective K-9 vest is $950. Each is valued at between $1,700 and just less than $2,300, has a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4-5 pounds. 

“As anyone knows that has a pet dog, they’re a part of the family,” Clark said. “You just multiply that when considering the bond K-9s have with their handlers. It’s natural that we’d protect them as one of our own.”

Creed, a South Portland Police Department K-9, received a bullet- and stab-protective vest, thanks to a charitable donation from nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s and donor Madeline Hamersley of Sorrento.