How Is This Police Reform? School Police “Comfort Dogs” And K-9 Bulletproof Vests

By MassPrivateI

How out of touch can law enforcement be? I mean after all the Black Lives Matter protests across the country, who thinks that putting bulletproof vests on police K-9s is a good idea?

A recent article in Fox 5 New York describes an organization giving a bulletproof vest to a Connecticut state police K-9 in glowing terms.

“A police dog that serves with the Connecticut State Police now has body armor for protection on the job. The dog named Nash received the bullet-and stab-resistant vest courtesy of a donation from Vested Interest in K9s.”

Because why not give K-9s “custom-fitted bullet-and stab-resistant vests?”

When was the last time you heard of a K-9 being shot or stabbed? Until this year and maybe one time last year, there were hardly any stories of K-9s being shot or stabbed; and the unlucky person who did stab a K-9 was shot to death by the police. (To see more examples of police killing people who stabbed K-9s click here & here.)

If you so much as bark, yes bark, at a police dog you can be arrested and charged with a crime. If a person hits or kicks a K-9 in self-defense they can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. But if a police officer orders a K-9 to rip a Black woman’s scalp off her head for being suspected of shoplifting that’s OK?

What screwed up world are we living in where the mass media celebrates outfitting K-9s with bulletproof vests?

The non-profit responsible for giving over 4,500 K-9s “custom-fitted bullet-and stab-resistant vests” is called “Vested Interest in K-9s” out of Massachusetts.

The board of Vested Interest in K-9s is made up almost entirely of police officers – six out of the nine board members are cops. Two of the board members who are not cops have husbands who are cops or work closely with the police. The founder and president, Sandy Marcal, has spent her career in public safety, serving in law enforcement and the fire service.

Vested Interest in K-9s has also given three police departments custom-fitted Chevy Tahoes for K-9s, and given one police department an Advanced Canine Medical Trainer (K9 Diesel).

Massachusetts police working hard to convince school kids to accept K-9s

Last week, no less than three stories were written about Massachusetts’ police “comfort dogs” in public schools.

One MassLive story in particular caught my attention because of its title: “Restorative Reform: Reshaping what it means to be a police officer in Greater Boston schools.”

The article describes how Mansfield, MA, School Resource Officer (SRO) Kenneth Wright uses a comfort dog named Bentley to influence how kids view K-9s.

“Every day is a little bit different,” said Wright, a detective who has spent 22 years in law enforcement. “The majority of the work [in schools] is more of an extended counselor and not as a police officer.”

The article revealed how SROs have become government propagandists, “the most important aspect of his job, he said, is building and maintaining trust and positive relationships with students.”

It appears that changing schoolkids’ perceptions of police K-9s has become a school cops number one obsession priority.

“We’re trying to work together and come together as a community. Rather than segregating the school and the police, we try to make everyone as one safe school and community. Hopefully, we can be a catalyst for success,” Wright said.

The other two articles about police comfort dogs in schools follow a similar pattern.

When reported on the Hingham, MA, police adopting their first comfort dog they were sure to include its name, “Opry.”

“Opry’s handler is School Resource Officer Tom Ford. They have been training for the past nine months and will be working together with the mission to comfort, reduce stress, and promote wellness to members of the community.”

Does anyone really think a cop’s priority is to use K-9s to comfort, reduce stress, and promote wellness to members of the community?

The third article from Darik News describes how the Reading Police Department in MA, is letting schoolkids decide the name of their “relaxing” comfort dogs.

“We are excited to start this program and the contribution these two relaxing dogs will make to the betterment of our department and everyone they interact with,” said Chief Clark.

One cannot help but think how Black people in the 1950s-1970s would have felt if they were given a chance to name the K-9s police officers used to attack them?

A recent article in Reason, shows just how hypocritical the Reading Police Department is by repeatedly questioning a mom of six children three times for letting her kids pick up trash.

Team Boonefield in New Hampshire has donated eight more comfort dogs to police departments in Massachusetts bringing the total to 11 comfort dogs used by police to maintain trust and build positive relationships with students and people across the state.

Nearly every instance of the public’s interactions with K-9s is one of violence as Doctor Polsky warns,

“Baby boomers may recall how police dogs were used to quell the historic civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. More recently, video footage on the Internet shows police dogs chasing and threatening people during the riots in 2011 in Vancouver and London. Also, inner-city residents have good reason to fear police dogs: Attacks on people by police dogs are disproportionately high when compared with attacks on people in more affluent areas. African-American teens have been called “dog biscuits” by Los Angeles Sheriff Department canine handlers.”

How is giving K-9s custom-fitted bullet-and stab-resistant vests really going to be perceived by the public? And how desperate are police to use “relaxing” comfort dogs in our schools to change kids perceptions of K-9s?

Future news headline: Black school kid, turned teen, has face ripped off by a relaxing comfort K-9 after getting too close to a cop. Teen asks, “I don’t understand; when I was in elementary school the comfort dogs promoted wellness and reduced my stress, why did the cop let the K-9 attack me now?”

Source: MassPrivateI Blog

Top image credit: Vested Interest In K-9s

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