An online fundraiser is underway to raise money for the City of Flint Police Department’s new K9 Edo to receive a bulletproof vest on behalf of the community.
The Flint Neighborhoods United group, a coalition of block clubs, neighborhood associations and crime watch leaders, has started a GoFundMe page to raise $3,500 to purchase the vest, food and other essentials for Edo.
“We through this would be a great way in getting a vest for the dog,” said Craig Wolcott, communications director for Flint Neighborhoods united. Wolcott said any money left over could be used by the department to purchase food and pay for veterinarian bills.
Edo, a 4-year-old German Sheperd was donated to the Flint Police Department by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Department of Public Safety and lives with Flint police officer and K9 handler John Boismier.
In helping around the city with blight removal and taking part in the Light up the City project along with law enforcement and businesses, Wolcott said this was another opportunity to connect with law enforcement in the area.
Flint police Officer Tanya Meeks said resident and Flint Neighborhoods United member Carma Lewis called her last week to find out if Edo, who’s already helped in tracking down a fugitive, had a bulletproof vest.
After reading a newspaper about Edo’s health care and food, Lewis noted “It said nothing about a (bulletproof) vest. Being a dog lover, you’ve got to take care of them.”
Following discussions with Flint police Chief James Tolbert, Meeks said Edo does not yet have a vest. Lewis wanted to bring the fundraising effort before the group during a Saturday, Nov. 1 meeting, with Tolbert approving of the idea.
“The chief cleared it and we went ahead with it,” said Meeks, adding “We took it to the members Saturday and they decided to go ahead with it” via a unanimous vote.
Meeks added the move is an important one, because “That means the community is very supportive and we need support from our community and they wanted to help out.”
“They realized, we all know there’s financial issues and to have to have a dog that’s out there doing a job just like a human being… they wanted to make sure it stayed safe,” she said. “It meant a lot. It actually warmed my heart to know they thought about the dog and to know they care.”
In undertaking the fundraising effort, Wolcott said “This is a good way to show the police department is trying to work with the citizens, and we can do something for them also.
“I think it’s all part of trying to be a community,” he said.
More than $730 has been raised in one day’s time for the vest purchase — estimated to cost between $900 and $2,500. For a look at the GoFundMe page, visit gofundme.com/edosvest.