Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog donates K9 safety items to RPD, worth approximately $4,000 Submitted: 01/10/2019
RHINELANDER - Finding ways to raise about $40,000 can wear you out.  Rhinelander Police Officer Chad Brown knows it well, having done so to get his police dog, Odin, and a new squad car to go with him, so a donation worth thousands of dollars came as a nice surprise.

Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog gave Rhinelander police a tactical vest, a medical kit, and an automated door opening system for the German Shepherd for free.  Brown estimates the donation is worth between $3,000 and $4,000 in total.

"They offered all three of them to us," Brown said. "We didn't have to ask or fill anything out. They're an amazing organization. They're volunteer-based. It's just donors from all over Wisconsin."

The "Hot n' Pop" system keeps track of temperature and carbon monoxide levels in the squad. If they get too high, the system sends a page to Brown, who can go back to the car or remotely open the doors. If Brown is unable to get to the car, the door can automatically open to let Odin out.

Brown says Odin isn't crazy about wearing the vest, but it is knife and gun resistant and will serve him well.

"You see the videos where they put the little winter booties on dogs and they walk real funny, that's kind of what he did when I first put it on him," Brown said of the vest. "He's getting used to it, but with training dogs, anybody that has ever trained a dog it's baby steps."

Odin joined the force late in the summer of 2018. Brown is grateful for the gifts, but appreciates the smallest donations just as much.

"You see people coming in and they want to give whatever they can," Brown said. "And, you know that they might be living paycheck to paycheck. That just shows the support the community is giving."

Brown expects most of the gear to last Odin's full career, which is approximately nine years.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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