City of Norfolk police dog Krijger died in the line of duty earlier this week when he was shot and killed by a suspect who had barricaded himself in his house. His plight came to the attention of retired SEAL James Hatch, a former military K-9 handler who works with law enforcement, offering tips he learned while working with dogs in combat zones. Hatch has a charity, Spike's K9 Fund, that is dedicated to helping military and police dogs. It was named for a Belgian Malinois that lost his life in Iraq while saving Hatch.
Through his charity, Hatch created a campaign in Krijger’s name to raise money to buy protective canine vests. The bulletproof and stab-resistant vests cost about $2,200 each, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The campaign for Norfolk's K-9 team came to the attention of CNN's Anderson Cooper who had interviewed Hatch last year.
Cooper donated his fee for an upcoming Norfolk speaking engagement to the ballistic vest campaign. Hatch told The Virginian-Pilot that Cooper “wasn’t keen on me publicizing his donation, but I told him I was going to do it anyway. He’s such a good dude. And genuine.”
Cooper's donation will cover the cost of protective vests for all of the Norfolk PD's K-9 members as well as some from neighboring police departments.
"Dogs saved me in the many ways a person can be saved," Hatch writes on his website. "Powerful as they are, they can’t advocate for themselves when they need help. That’s why it’s my mission to take care of them. And I can’t do it without you."
Police plan to hold a memorial service for Krijger on Jan. 19.