NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - The next time the New Rochelle K-9 Unit is called on in an emergency situation, the responding dogs will be donning some of the same protective equipment as their handlers, courtesy of some good Samaritans in the community.
On Friday, New Rochelle residents Jennifer Ubl and Jessica Levine presented three bulletproof and stabproof vests to the Police Department’s K-9 unit that will be outfitted on the canines when they are deployed in the field.
The donation comes after the two started a GoFundMe fundraising campaign that collected the $3,000 needed to purchase the vests, which will replace the lone, stretched, worn out vest the department currently uses.
K-9 Officer Marc Weinerman, who was on hand with his partner, Tank, said that the vests can defend against most handguns and knives when the dogs are needed in select high-leverage situations. He laughed that the dogs’ new vests felt heavier than the ones the officers are issued.
“We often use the dogs for dangerous situations when we need to track or search a building or a wooded area,” he added. “Knowing members of our community care about (the canines) lives’ as much as our lives is pretty incredible support.”
New Rochelle Police Commissioner praised Ubl and Levine for being proactive in helping raise the funds to help benefit the department in a way it may not have been able to otherwise. He noted that the vests will be a benefit to neighboring communities such as Mamaroneck or Pelham that have smaller departments that don’t feature special K-9 units.
“This tells the community that people do care, and that they appreciate the work (police) are doing. They showed that by raising these funds,” he said. “It shows a lot of community spirit. These people have donated three vests for the K-9 officers that is very much appreciated and will help the police department do the work they need to do.”
In her final update on the GoFundMe page, Levine expressed her appreciation and gratefulness to the 48 people that donated the $3,000.
“People amaze me with their kindness and generosity, all three vests (have been) order,” she wrote. “I don’t know what to say that can top thank you, so with that being said, good day and goodnight and you are all amazing human beings. These dogs are lucky to have people who care.”