Helen Lee/News-Register##Officer Jason Carruth with K9 Officer Tucker. A McMinnville resident has launched a campaign to raise funds to buy a protective vest for Tucker.
Helen Lee/News-Register##Officer Jason Carruth with K9 Officer Tucker. A McMinnville resident has launched a campaign to raise funds to buy a protective vest for Tucker.
By Helen Lee • Of the News-Register • 

Campaign launched for police dog vests

Jenny Wilson once trained dogs for the Edmonds Police Department in Washington. She learned the dogs only wore harnesses on the job and began a campaign to fund vests for them.

On patrol, dogs are often the first to encounter criminals the police are searching for, Wilson said, putting them at elevated risk of harm.

And she said, “The harnesses are very unsafe. The vests would protect most of their bodies, and they’re bullet- and stab-proof.”

Dogs are a viable part of the police department, she said, noting, “They’re considered police officers and they’re excellent trackers.”

Wilson recalled, “When I first moved here, there was drug activity in my apartment complex. The canines allowed for probable cause, and the police were able to search the woman’s car.”

There are four canine officers working for the McMinnville Police Department, but only Tucker and Axell will draw patrol duty, so they are the only ones needing vests. Both dogs are 2-year-old German shepherds and both have joined the force in the last year.        

Tucker is trained in narcotics detection. He is slated to begin patrol tracking training in January.

Axell is already patrol-certified.

Officer Jason Carruth is Tucker’s handler. They joined forces about three months ago.

“Something people don’t always understand is that they’re not vicious attack dogs,” he said. “We don’t train them to bite. They only bite if they have to.”

The extensive training canines go through enables them to be full partners with their human counterparts in the field, Carruth said.

“As soon as those dogs hit the car, they know it’s time to go to work,” he said. “They get super jazzed.”

Wilson has established a GoFundMe account for Tucker and Axell. She is hoping to raise $2,000.

“There’s been a lot of tension lately between communities and their officers, and this fundraiser for the dogs is a way to bring us all together,” she said. “The dogs, I mean they’re not just dogs. They’re officers too.”

A number of businesses in the community have already contributed, including the Lawrence Gallery, Third Street Veterinary Hospital and Xtreme Auto Spa. Donations can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/5cc4nnyk .

Those donating $100 or more will have the opportunity to meet Tucker and Axell in person after completion of the campaign.

Comments

Joel2828

Why is the police officers face cropped out of the picture? If I'm going to donate to his dog, I want to see what he looks like.

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