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Investing in Palo Alto K-9s

Nonprofit founder Susie Jean makes presentation during ceremony at City Hall

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Three Palo Alto police dogs were presented with canine bulletproof vests during the police department's promotion ceremony at City Hall Tuesday.

The vests were donated to the police department by New Mexico resident Susie Jean, whose nonprofit group Vest 'N P.D.P provides bulletproof vests to police dogs nationwide.

Jean founded Vest 'N P.D.P in 2002 after watching a television program in which a police dog died after being shot in the line of duty. She had recently lost her own dogs to cancer, she said, which made the program seem especially poignant.

"I kind of just turned to my husband and said 'I can't believe they don't have vests,'" she said.

Jean has donated approximately 500 vests to police dogs in 39 states since then, she said.

During the ceremony Jean personally presented the vests to the canine officers and their human handlers. Two of the dogs leapt up to greet Jean and sniff their new equipment.

"That's why I do what I do. Aren't they beautiful?" Jean said.

A police dog from the East Bay Regional Parks District was also given a vest during the ceremony.

Police Agent Duane Tannock's canine partner, Ilan, received one of the vests. The vests help officers feel comfortable sending the dogs on search operations, Tannock said.

"It's great ... these guys are our partners, they're our livelihood. They protect us. They'll put their life on the line for us without even thinking about it," he said.

Ilan is new to the police department, having been on patrol for just two weeks. Tannock said he and Ilan often take part in search operations or respond to violent crimes but sometimes help with standard duties as well.

Later in the ceremony, new police officers Paul Burgio, Cynthia Kono and Jeremy Schmidt were formally sworn in to the department by police Captain Mark Venable. Department employee Karen McAdams was also promoted to the position of parking manager.

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Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 13, 2010 at 11:37 pm

A big thank you to Susie Jean of New Mexico for supplying the vests. (If Palo Alto can give a million bucks to a children's theatre, wouldn't one think they could also spring for something that saves lives? Oh well.) All good wishes to these dogs and their handlers.

Like this comment
Posted by barry
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2010 at 9:08 am




Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Retiree
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

Hooray for the dogs and their handlers! This is good news. More dogs, less Big Als and disenchanted firemen would indeed be an improvement for Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by Morris
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:32 am

One can only wonder:

Why does Palo Alto need three Police Dogs?
How many times a year does a Police Dog face a "Perp" with a gun?
What is the "threshold of danger" that will require the dogs to have these vests put on?
Will the dogs be expected to wear them at every deployment?
What will happen to a dog's handler if the dog is injured and didn't have his/her vest on?

Wouldn't it be better to have a single "K-9" unit for Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Los Altos and maybe Mountain View, rather than duplicate this used-only-once-in-a-while resource?

Like this comment
Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

Thank you, Susie Jean, this is a wonderful thing you do. The dogs are as heroic as their human partners and deserve the same degree of protection. Again, thank you!

Like this comment
Posted by DoodyCalls
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

It's called covering your investment. These dogs also get punched or stabbed. Lots of training and money is spent to get these K9‘s to a point where they may save someone’s life and a vest may help them achieve this goal. They are officers and should be treated as such. The vest is used based on the call and is up to the handler. We (DoodyCalls, Police K9 Foundation) have made it our mission also to cover these units. Once you meet the K9’s and the handlers and families you will understand the need. People and organizations like Miss Jean’s help keep costs down for our local departments.

Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Thank you Susie Jean!


One dog for 5 cities??? That sounds difficult to manage.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Ugh... TPARS

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm

The new Police Officers were hired almost a year ago, long before possible cutbacks in the Police Department were announced. It takes almost a year to put a Police Officer through the Police Academy, then have them trained with a Field Training Officer (FTO) before they go out on the street alone.

The Police Department is well down in numbers, and several police officers are retiring this year.

The Police Department has had police dogs for many years, they use them mainly at night. They are great for pursuits particularly in the creek beds. Several years ago one was shot at on Upper Page Mill Road.

Like this comment
Posted by respones to morris
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Police dogs are used each and every day, chases on foot (which do happen), searching vehicles (dogs smell better then we do) and of the many duties I could list they are also used as tools to reach out to the public and children, thus giving the police department a good name and the trust they need from the youth of today.

Like this comment
Posted by M
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2010 at 12:20 am

I'm glad they are vesting the K9's, it's about time. This is something I feel is necessary for every law enforcement agency that utilizes K9's for service duty.

Barry- You still need to hire new police officers even in a budget crisis...veteran officers retire, and new officers need to take their place. Not hiring new officers to replace retirees would mean less officers on the street, which, I don't know about you but, is something I know to be a bad thing. Your comment, unfortunately, makes it sound like you know very little about the field and city in general.

Like this comment
Posted by M
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2010 at 12:21 am

Morris- Police dogs are used very often, more than you would think. Sign up for a ride-along, I think you will be in for a very eye-opening experience.

Like this comment
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2010 at 2:53 am

Morris: You expect one dog to be on 24/7 365? For all those cities? You do realize you are talking about 2 different counties and 5 different cities. I agree with M. You obviously have not thought that through.

Like this comment
Posted by Robit noops
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Thats cool, police dogs deserve protection since they put themselves at risk in the line of duty as well as people. Police dogs are an incredible asset

I am sure that the police dept. does what it can to conserve funds just like the rest of the city does, but get serious if you want police and fire departments to make drastic cuts.

Like this comment
Posted by t
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Apr 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

thats creulty to animals, using dogs. putting unwilling animals in danger. outraged!

Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Palo Alto ABSOLUTELY needs three police dogs. We are not insulated from what goes on around us and a dog can be a huge asset in police work. If you want to stop wasting money, stop providing police to the monthly Break the Law-Fest in which hundreds of cyclists converge on Palo Alto to cause traffic jams, detours and chaos.

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