Chamber of Commerce, community raises money for K-9 bulletproof vest
Taylor Blauer poses with his partner Argos and Chamber of Commerce members after receiving the check for a bulletproof vest for Argos at the April 4 council meeting. (Mandy Ditto/City Journals)
By Mandy Ditto | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Murray Chamber of Commerce worked with community members and city employees to raise money for a bulletproof vest for Argos, the police department’s K-9.
It came to the attention of the Chamber at an Eggs and Issues breakfast that Argos—who became the police department’s only canine officer—didn’t have a bulletproof vest to wear while on duty with his partner, Officer Taylor Blauer.
Officer Blauer and Argos visited at the Eggs and Issues in December, and the chamber learned about him, and that he was only 2 years old.
“Craig Burnett, our chief of police, was mentioning that we have a new canine officer named Argos, we were very intrigued, and somebody asked in the audience if he had a bulletproof vest, because we asked about protection,” said Chamber President and CEO Stephanie Wright. “He said, ‘No, we don’t’ … And one of our chamber members said that we should start collecting donations for them and get enough to raise the money.”
The bulletproof vests for dogs cost about $900, so the Chamber began asking for help from the community to raise the money. They passed a basket around at every Eggs and Issues breakfast and at their Thursday luncheons, Wright said.
At the beginning of January, City Councilman Jim Brass approached Wright and told her he would match donations when they reached $450, to help speed up the process, Wright said.
“I just wanted people to know if they donated it would be doubled. After the meeting, the money came pretty fast,” Brass said. “I would give all credit to the Chamber of Commerce. I just wanted to help.”
After about six weeks the $450 was met and matched, “so Argos will have his vest, we will present the check and they can purchase it how they need to, where they need to,” Wright said.
Several members of the Chamber, including Wright, attended the April 4 council meeting and presented the check to Officer Blauer and Argos.
“It’s honestly really appreciated. It’s always good to know that there are those people who are supportive of the police, and not just the police, but my partner—my dog,” Blauer said. “In those situations where the vest is beneficial it’s greatly appreciated, it eases the mind and he’s a member of the family and it’s nice to have that protection for him.”
Argos lives with Blauer and his family when they are not at work, but they are always on call because they live in the city, he said. His young daughter is especially fond of Argos and loves petting him.
In regards to Argos’ duties, he is mostly used as a locating tool. He can track down suspects, and can sniff out several different types of narcotics, Blauer said. There are often situations in which they need to send Argos to locate a suspect, and having a vest on him when they don’t know if the suspect is armed is comforting, he said.
“It’s a great community of people coming together that somebody had a great idea and we took off with it, and people are willing to contribute to something that helps protect our community,” Wright said. “Argos is a great asset to us. I know in the very near future they’ll have a second canine added to the police force, which is always valuable. These dogs are not cheap with the training that they go through, but the officer is dedicated, the dog is with him 24/7. It’s not taken lightly, and he is put through the right training.
“The police department is very proud to have a canine officer, not many other cities have the opportunity to purchase a canine officer. I think it’s great for the community to get to know their local police department, how they can help, the community is the eyes and ears for the community, we only have so many officers to cover so many miles of the city, so it’s always good to have a good relationship with the Murray PD.
“We appreciate everything they do for us, they’re a great working service arm for the city and for the Chamber and we can’t thank them enough.”
The Chamber of Commerce holds Eggs and Issues breakfasts every Friday morning from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Egg & I in Holladay at 1919 East Murray Road until the end of May, and then they will move to the Mimi’s on State Street in Murray until the end of the year.