Anderson Cooper is a well-known American journalist, television personality and author. He is probably best known for his gig hosting Anderson Cooper 360˚, a news show on CNN. Last week Cooper was in the news for something other than his celebrity status. He donated enough money to the Norfolk Police Department to allow them to purchase new military-style vests for every K9 unit they have.
Cooper didn’t just search for a police department in need – his donation was in response to a Facebook post. That’s right; the department posted a statement on the Facebook page on January 11th stating that they lose a dedicated member of their force. Krijger, a K9 member of the department, passed away while on the job.
He was sent in to assess a situation in which a man barricaded himself in his home. The man had a gun, and he shot and killed Krijger when he came too close. The Norfolk Police Department posted that Krijger had served alongside them for three years and had given his life to protect the lives of other officers on the force.
Of course, the news reached Cooper as the story was covered by CNN, the network that he works for. He knew that he had the means to help the police dogs that were still serving on the department, and he decided to do something about it. Coincidentally, Cooper knew someone that could help.
The news anchor had interviewed Jimmy Hatch last year, and Cooper saw a Facebook post from his acquaintance explaining a new fundraising effort. Hatch is a former military dog handler and a retired Navy SEAL, and he runs a charity dedicated to helping police and military dogs in Norfolk.
After hearing the news about Krijger, Hatch launched a campaign in the K-9’s name to raise money to purchase stab-resistant and bulletproof vests. Each vest costs about $2,200. Cooper got in contact with Hatch and agreed to donate 100% of his speaking fee from an upcoming lecture he would be giving at Chrysler Hall.
The donation will be enough to purchase these ballistic vests for every K-9 member of the Norfolk Police Department. Just in case you’re wondering, the man that shot Krijger was shot by police officers and then taken into custody. He died in a hospital later that day due to the gunshot wounds.
Working dogs are amazing animals. They have been expertly trained to work alongside humans to do some tough jobs. Police departments use dogs to sniff out illegal materials and bombs, track criminals and help in search and rescue endeavors.
According to PoliceOne.com, it costs tens of thousands of dollars to start and maintain a K-9 unit. The initial price for the dog is just the tip of the iceberg. Every K-9 needs regular maintenance training, and they have general living expenses just like pet dogs do. There’s food, supplies and routine vet care – not to mention any emergency health care expenses that may pop up.
Most police departments can barely afford the K-9, let alone an additional $2,200 for a ballistic vest. The generosity shown by Anderson Cooper to help the Norfolk Police Department is impressive. It makes me wonder what would happen if more famous faces got involved with small police departments to help them get the supplies they need to be as safe as possible on the job?