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Newport News K-9 unit receiving protective vests after donation from Anderson Cooper

Newport News four-legged officers are about to have additional protection.

The Newport Newport Police Department announced on Monday that its K-9 units will receive six ballistic vests with remaining funds from an Anderson Cooper donation to the Norfolk Police Department.

The vests will ensure that every dog within the unit is protected, said police spokesman Lou Thurston.

"We are so appreciative," Thurston said. "They're not just a dog, they're a police officer."

There are six dogs in the K-9 unit and two dogs in the organized crime division — with an additional one in training, Newport News police said.

The chain of events leading to the gift began with the death of Krijger, a Norfolk Police Department K-9, who was shot on Jan. 10.


SHARING WONDERFUL NEWS:As many of you know, following the line-of-duty death of Norfolk Police Department's K9...

Posted by Newport-News Police-Department on Monday, January 25, 2016

"These dogs live with the officers and the officer's family," Thurston said. "They quickly become part of not only the police family but the officer's family too."

Following the death of Krijger, a campaign was set up by retired SEAL Jimmy Hatch, a former military dog handler who runs a charity — Spikes K9 Fund — helping police and military dogs.

Cooper was made aware of the charity after interviewing Hatch in 2015, The Virginian Pilot reported.

Though the amount given was undisclosed, the donation was high enough to outfit all of Norfolk's K-9 unit plus others in Hampton Roads.

The money was donated from Cooper's speaking fee from a Tuesday lecture at Chrysler Hall.

K-9 Vinny retiring

K-9 Vinny will retire from service after working with NNPD, Richmond Police and Virginia State Police.

Vinny was trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and Ecstasy.

During his time with the NNPD, Vinny was deployed 84 times and sniffed out more than 25 pounds of drugs, recovered seven firearms and close to $5,000.

In his retirement, he will enjoy life with his handler and spend "his time being a couch potato and playing at the beach," a release said.

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