'Haxo' awarded grant funds

Chad Frey
Butler County Times Gazette

Every police officer should have an insurance policy — including K-9 officers like Haxo, the first K-9 officer to serve Butler County Community College. . 

Butler community college police dog Haxo is awarded  “Healthcare for K9 Heroes” medical insurance plan by nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s.

The German Shepherd joined Butler’s police squad in April 2020 and has spent his time learning the job as he patrols Butler’s grounds with Lt. Tim Harder.

When Harder’s remaining GI Bill benefits were about to expire, he found a way to donate $18,700 to Butler Community College to get a new partner.

Other donations have followed — one for a tactical/protective vest for Haxo, and now, one for a health insurance policy to protect the K-9 officer. 

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) nationwide charity located in East Taunton, MA, whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit is pleased to continue their “Healthcare for K9 Heroes” medical insurance program for 2021 which covers annual policy premiums. Since 2016, the charity has donated over $178,000 towards medical reimbursement programs for self-funded K9 units.

Selected as 2021 recipients to date are: Butler Community College Department of Public Safety, KS, K9 Haxo; Farmington Police Department, Illinois, K9 Koala; Allen Park Police Department, Michigan K9 Enzo; Lonoke County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas, K9 Atlas and K9 Storm; McDowell County Sheriff's Office, West Virginia, K9 Azra; Allen Hospital-Unity Point Health, Iowa, K9 Riggs; Pendleton Police Department, Oregon, K9 Bali; Beebe Police Department, Arkansas, K9 Kona; Southern Regional Police Department, Pennsylvania K9 Ransom; Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, Maine, K9 Jazz; Ferris Police Department, Texas, K9 Fuse; Groton Police Department, Massachusetts, K9 Bane; Centralia Police Department, Washington, K9 Pax; Postville Police Department, Iowa, K9 Xena; Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa, K9 Koda; Sharon Police Department, Pennsylvania, K9 Orion; Soap Lake Police Department, Washington, K9 Billy; Glasford Police Department Illinois, K9 Bear; West Union Police Department, Iowa, K9 Koda; Hebron Police Department, Indiana, K9 Bane; Geneva County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama, K9 Apache.

 The “Healthcare for K9 Heroes” grant is awarded to departments who have the financial burden of raising funds to support their K9 unit, who have no more than three K9s, and who have previously been awarded a vest through Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Law enforcement dogs ages two through seven are eligible. The annual medical reimbursement insurance policy, administered by Trupanion, will cover illnesses, injuries—including those sustained in the line of duty—diagnostic testing and therapies. The plan allows the freedom to use any licensed veterinarian, specialty center, or emergency hospital in the United States.

Trupanion, a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs, offers injury and illnesses coverage for working and service dogs— both on and off duty. For nearly two decades, Trupanion has given pet owners and working dog owners peace of mind so they can focus on their dog’s recovery, not financial stress. Trupanion is honored to support these brave K9 heroes and is committed to providing the highest value in medical insurance to help them receive the best veterinary care.

In addition to the healthcare reimbursement program, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,275 law enforcement dogs with U.S. made, custom-fitted, National Institute of Justice, NIJ certified bullet and stab-protective vests in 50 states, at a value of over $6.9 million dollars. For more information, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website: www.vik9s.org.

The same organization,  Vested Interest in K9s, supplied funds for a tactical and protective vest last year.  K9 Haxo is one of more than 4,100 dogs to receive body armor from Vested Interest.

Harder spent two months in 2020  training Haxo at American K-9 Interdiction in Virginia. He lived in a dorm and spent his days focused on turning Haxo into a narcotics detection officer, finishing the intensive program in June. Haxo is now trained on six types of drugs.