Bulletproof vests - for dogs. Community donations protect Trumbull K-9s.

Cindy Penkoff, Trumbull K-9 Officer RJ Carlson, and K9 Rico

Cindy Penkoff, Trumbull K-9 Officer RJ Carlson, and K9 Rico

Contributed

TRUMBULL — The town’s police dogs got an early Christmas gift of protection thanks to a donation of $3,150 for the purchase of two K-9 bulletproof vests. The town’s two dogs, Bane and Rico, had not been provided a vest, according to police spokesman Brian Weir.

The donation was made Dec. 10 by Trumbull resident Cindy Penkoff, who organized the fundraising activities. The donations came from members of the community and were collected within 48 hours of the initial request, Weir said.

“At a recent pro-police gathering, Penkoff was informed that Trumbull police were in need of a new vest for their K-9 unit,” Weir said. He said Penkoff has organized several events and fundraising activities in support of the department.

Penkoff began gathering donations for a vest, and was then contacted by the Sicilian family of Trumbull. The family was interested in donating funds for the purchase of a vest for a police dog to honor the memory of their late son Nicholas, who suffered fatal injuries in a vehicle crash in town in 2016 at age 27. The family made their donation on what would have been Nicholas’ birthday.

Weir said one of the two new vests will have an embroidered patch in Nicholas’ memory. The vests, which weigh about five pounds, have a five-year warranty.

The department currently has two police dogs. Rico is a 5-year-old Belgian malinois who is partnered with Officer R.J. Carlson. Bane is a 2-year-old German shepherd whose partner is Officer Gregory Lee.

deng@trumbulltimes.com