Troop C K-9s to wear bullet-proof vests

May 22, 2012

Article as it appeared in the Reminder News

By Lauri Voter – Staff Writer
Stafford/Tolland – posted Thu., May. 17, 2012

Trooper James O’Donnell of Troop C, and Dietz, 3, received a K-9 protective vest on May 15, which was donated by Stafford Springs dog breeder Kathy Prudden. O’Donnell said that he has developed a very strong bond with Dietz. Photos by Lauri Voter.

Kathy Prudden of Stafford Springs breeds dogs and donates some of them to police agencies. On May 15, she also donated and presented custom-made, bullet-proof K-9 protective vests to five members of Connecticut K-9 units in order to keep them safe.

Prudden coordinated the K-9 vest project with Guardian Uniform and Supply in Springfield, Mass., because K-9 dogs are not provided with vests as part of their job. Having raised the dogs as puppies, Prudden noted that she donated them to the police, “and then they were out on the streets. And they’re my kids, too,” she said.

During a brief ceremony held at Connecticut State Police Troop C in Tolland, a municipal officer from Torrington and Norwich each accepted a vest on behalf of his K-9 partner, and three Connecticut state police troopers each received a vest for his K-9 counterpart.

Prudden also introduced police handlers and dogs who are slated to enter the Connecticut State Police K-9 training facility in Meriden, as teams, in September.

State Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-35), ranking member of the Public Safety Committee, attended the ceremony, and thanked Prudden for her contribution to public safety. “Until I talked to Kathy, I didn’t realize that most of these dogs, if not all, are donated by people throughout the state of Connecticut, so that’s something that I think the public should be aware of,” said Guglielmo. “The dogs certainly deserve this type of protection,” he said, in reference to the K-9 vests.

Trooper Anthony Cristy, of Troop C, and Axel, 3, received a K-9 protective vest from Prudden. Cristy said that he has never had a human partner, adding that having a canine partner “is the best.”

Trooper James O’Donnell of Troop C, and Dietz, 3, also received a K-9 protective vest. Dietz has been a K-9 cop for just more than two years.

Dietz is O’Donnell’s second canine partner. “It’s just me and him in the car. I love it,” said O’Donnell, who prefers having a dog for a partner, rather than a human.

“It’s much better, because he never talks back, and I never have a bad conversation with him,” quipped O’Donnell, who said that he has developed a very strong bond with his dog. “He’s very dependable,” he added. At the end of each day, Dietz goes home with O’Donnell and lives with him as a companion when they are off-duty. “If I go on vacation, he goes with me… For the most part, he’s always with me,” said O’Donnell.