On Thursday, the Virginian-Pilot reported that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper donated enough money to purchase ballistic vests to outfit every K9 in the Norfolk, Virginia Police Department. Mr. Cooper, who lost his own dog Molly inSeptember, 2015, obviously has a soft spot for animals. He purchased the vests in reaction to the death of Krijger, a K9 with the Norfolk PD, who was shot and killed while responding with his handler to a domestic violence call on January 11, 2016. The shooter opened fire on the officers, fatally wounding the K9. Officers returned fire, wounding the subject, who died from his own wounds the next day. The Officer Down Memorial Page posted an End of Watch notice for this brave K9.
Reports circulated that it’s likely that Krijger would have survived his wounds, had he been outfitted with a bulletproof and stab-proof Kevlar vest. Each vest costs about $2,200. A retired SEAL and former military dog handler, Jimmy Hatch, runs a charity in Norfolk dedicated to helping military and police dogs. The link to that fund, SpikesK9Fund, can be found here. In Krijger’s memory, he launched a campaign to raise money to purchase the vests.
Cooper and Hatch had met in 2015, when the reporter interviewed Hatch about his 2009 mission to rescue Sgt. Bergdahl in Afghanistan. Cooper saw the post about Hatch’s new fundraiser, and decided to donate his entire speaking fee from his upcoming “Norfolk Forum” lecture at Chrysler Hall toward the purchase of the K9 vests. Though Cooper wanted to remain quiet about the generous donation, Hatch was overwhelmed, and posted, “All of the Norfolk K9’s will be outfitted and we will start outfitting K9’s from other cities in Hampton Roads with the remainder. From here on out, we are making the ‘K9 Krijger Ballistic Vest Campaign’ a national campaign and you can designate yourdonations accordingly. We are grateful for Mr. Cooper’s generosity.”
The Norfolk Police Department also gave a big thanks to Cooper for his generous donation and to Hatch for his organizing efforts on their Facebook page. The vests come with a lifetime guarantee, and we’re sure they will go far towards saving many brave and valiant K9 lives. We applaud Mr. Cooper and Mr. Hatch in their endeavors to keep our K9 buddies safe.