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Woodstock K9 officer Blue receives bulletproof vest

WOODSTOCK – When Woodstock K9 officer Blue was searching for the gunman who shot a man on Mitchell Street June 24 he was safe from bullets thanks to a donation from nonprofit Chive on Chicago and Vested Interest in K-9s

Vested Interest in K9s provided the tailor made bulletproof vest after charitable organization Chive on Chicago held a fundraising event to raise money for the department. The group decided to focus on a Woodstock cause this year because of the 25th anniversary of the filming of "Groundhog Day." Bill Murray, who stars in the film, is the "unofficial mascot" of the Chive, said Ray Pryor, who organized the event.

"We had seen Blue the previous fall at a rescue dog demonstration," he said. "We realized he didn't have a bulletproof vest and thought that would be a good cause for it."

The fundraising event raised $3,000 – triple the group's goal of $1,000, Pryor said. The Chive donated the remaining funds to the Greg Lindmark Foundation, which raises awareness and provides assistance for first responders and police officers with post traumatic stress disorder.  

K-9 Officer Sharon Freund said that she puts the vest on Blue when they are completing a building search and there is possible armed subject inside or if they are tracking a known aggressive person.

"I hate the thought of sending him in for somebody who is armed," she said. "But that's part of my job and that's what [the vest] is for. It's not often, but you want it when you need it."

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