Norfolk - K-9 Officer Krijger lost his life when a barricade suspect shot and killed him Monday morning. If James Hatch, a retired Special Warfare Operator and K-9 handler, has it his way, K-9 Krijger will be the last police dog to lose his life in the line of duty.
"They need our help they don`t have anyone who can talk for them and we all love dogs we should take care of them," explained Hatch. "K-9 Krijger was again a great dog and he was a great police officer in my mind. I don't want him to be forgotten."
Which is why he created the K-9 Krijger Ballistic Vest Campaign through his organization Spikes K-9 Fund. Hatch created the site after his first K-9, Spike, died protecting him in a gunfight while they were serving in Iraq.
"He saved my butt and the lives of two of my friends and he made a big impact on me."
Part of Spike's K-9 Fund's goal is to provide K-9 Officers all across the country with ballistic vests. Starting at home with the Norfolk Police Department in the name of K-9 Krijger. The vests for the dogs that Hatch wants to give to the department in honor of Krijger cost $2,200 a piece. Hatch admits that it is a pricey piece of equipment but he says it is worth it.
"From what I am told, if Krijger was wearing one he probably would have lived," he said. "That's the goal, to give them some protection they deserve it man, they deserve it."
The price tag hasn't discouraged any donors, since K-9 Krijger's death, the price of two vests have been donated through the campaign and will go directly to the K-9 Unit of the Norfolk Police Department.
On Thursday, Hatch told Newschannel 3 that CNN's Anderson Cooper has donated his speaking fee from his upcoming Norfolk event, to the K-9 Krijger Ballistic Vest Campaign. According to Hatch, that money mixed with some of the money already made is enough to pay for ballistic vests for the entire Norfolk Police K-9 unit and some other neighboring departments.
Hatch says he was thrilled to hear of Cooper's donation, and said that Cooper didn't want any publicity for his donation.