Thursday, April 11, 2013

CCSO K9 Unit Receives Donation Of Protective Vests

K9 Disco, with handler Cpl. Alan Catlin, displays his new protective vest. Disco is one of two CCSO K9s that received bullet- and stab-resistant vests donated by the Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida on Thursday. Photos by Kristi Lester/CCSO (2)

Two members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit have a lot more protection as they serve and protect Collier County residents, thanks to a donation of protective vests Thursday.

Members of the Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida presented protective bullet- and stab-resistant vests for K9s Disco and Kerel at a news conference at CCSO Headquarters.

The donation means that all seven CCSO K9s now have protective vests.

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said the donation was a “terrific opportunity.” The Sheriff said K9s are an important part of the CCSO “family.”

“K9s not only keep our deputies safe, they keep our community safe, and today we are going to make them a little safer,” Sheriff Rambosk said.

The nonprofit association based in Port Charlotte has more than 90 members retired from local, state and federal law enforcement organizations.

The donation to CCSO brings to 29 the total number of K9s the group has provided protective vests. The vests, which retail for $1,500 apiece, are high-tech, lightweight and custom-fitted to each dog.

“Our goal is to vest every needy K9,” said Ray Hubbart, president of the association.

The donation to CCSO was made possible thanks to Neil Monkman of Cape Coral. Monkman collected $2,000 from visitors to his Planet Monkman Christmas Light Show, a computerized light show synchronized to a variety of music with more than 125,000 lights at his residence. He donated the money he collected to the Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida.

“I couldn’t think of a better cause,” Monkman said. “These animals are so dedicated. We can’t do enough for them.”

Sgt. Raul Roman, who supervises the CCSO K-9 Unit, said K9s risk their lives on a daily basis. They are deployed ahead of their human counterparts, often confronting dangerous situations, he said.

“With these vests we can better protect the community,” Sgt. Roman said.

From left, Robert Marron, vice president of the Retired Law Enforcement Association of Southwest Florida; Cpl. Alan Catlin and K9 Disco; Neil Monkman; and Ray Hubbert, president of the association.