AUBURN — After three years on the force, K9 Dutch is getting new protective gear to keep him safe on the beat.

The vest, which will be bullet- and stab-proof, is one of 16 awarded in New England by Vested Interest in K-9s with a $15,000 grant from the Petco Foundation.

Although he was born in Canada, Dutch didn’t let being from away interfere with his training under handler Cpl. Kristopher Bouchard.

Dutch was purchased with seized drug money and was trained at Narcotics Detection School at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. He has been trained to sniff out marijuana, hashish, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

He began his training late and quickly proved himself. He is the only K9 in his class to find a person after a mile-long trek up Frye Mountain in Montville.

According to an Auburn Police Department release, Vested Interest in K-9s is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity in East Taunton, Mass., whose mission is to provide vests to law enforcement dogs throughout the United States.

Since the group’s establishment in 2009, they have provided more than 438 K9s with vests in 36 states, spending more than $400,000.

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