Vested Interest: Charity helps keep police dog safe

Ruger, Fairfield’s police dog, displays his bullet- and knife-proof vest, provided through the charity Vested Interest. (John Kovach Photo)

Ruger wasn’t long into his tenure with the Fairfield Police Department when he encountered true danger.

“His first day on duty he could have used a [bullet- and stab-proof] vest,” Officer Kevin Wells, said. “We were chasing a murder suspect.”

Ruger now has his vest, donated by the Truken family of North Attleboro, Mass., through Vested Interest in K-9s.

Officer Kevin Wells runs with his partner, Ruger.

Officer Kevin Wells runs with his partner, Ruger.

“Did you know in most cases law enforcement agencies do not have budgets to provide vests for K-9 officers?” the charity asks on its website,

Vested Interest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund-raising organization dedicated to providing bullet- and stab-protective vests for law enforcement K-9s throughout the United States.

Ruger modeled his new protective equipment for the family July 9.

Robert Truken, a union lineman, knew Wells from time spent together on job sites around Fairfield.

When the Trukens lost their chocolate Lab, Brittany, two years ago, they wanted to do something to honor her memory. They decided to work with Massachusetts-based Vested Interest to help purchase vests for police dogs. The vests cost more than $1,000, Truken said.

Sgt. Susan Lussier said the purchase and care of Ruger is being totally paid by private and corporate donations, with no tax money spent.

Ruger, she said, is Fairfield’s first police dog in two decades. He is trained as a patrol dog, a tracking dog and a narcotic-sniffing dog, he said.

Monday, after Ruger posed for photos with Truken’s sons, 12-year-old William and 9-year-old Anthony, he was in some solo shots taken by Jennifer Truken for a Vested Interest calendar.

Information on dogs on the Vested Interest waiting list is available at 508-824-6978.

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