FISHERS, Ind. – The Fishers Police Department wants to say thank you. Donations have poured in following the death of K9 Harlej. The department has quickly learned that protecting their four-legged officers is a job the community wants to help with.
The Fishers Police Department is looking at purchasing new ballistic vests for their K9’s. A move they’re now able to make, thanks to the generosity of others.
On Tuesday, the department was presented a check for $6,842. It’s not only a donation but a gesture of support.
“I think it’s tough in times like this, is when you see it, but there’s no other better time,” said Chief Ed Gebhart.
The women pictured in the photograph are part of the Saxony and Surrounding Neighborhoods group. The same neighborhood where on November 13th, Fishers K9 officer, Harlej, was shot and killed in the line of duty.
“Some of the ladies that were involved directly, the suspect ran through their yard,” Gebhart added.
It’s a tragedy that’s brought a community together.
“With that money, we will work towards that goal of those vests,” said Gebhart.
Chief Ed Gebhart says the donation will allow the department to begin testing new ballistic vests for the K9 force. Each ballistic vest would cost around $3,300. With four K9 officers, that adds up quick.
“It allows the dog to be freer, it’s lighter, it provides that ballistic coverage that it may need, so it’s definitely something we want to look at, definitely something we want to train with and see if it’s a direction our agency will go,” Gebhart explained.
Local businesses are also joining in and helping out in the efforts.
“It was like a no-brainer for us,” said Casey McGaughery, of the new Rise’n Roll Bakery opening in Fishers.
At the new Rise’n Roll Bakery they’re hosting ‘Donuts of Harlej’ for the two-day opening event. A portion of their sales will be donated to the K9 fund.
“This is a family business and we’re big dog lovers and we’re also big believers in first responders,” said McGaughery.
“It shows the officers in the building the support that the community has for them,” said Gebhart, “It energizes us and makes us want to do better.”
As for Officer Jarred Koopman, Harlej’s handler, Chief Gebhart says Koopman will be selecting a K9 officer and begin training after the holidays.
Again, the Fishers Police Department wants to thank everyone for their support.
For more on the Rise’n Roll Bakery event in Fishers honoring K9 Harlej:
- Wednesday, December 18 & Thursday, December 19
- Open at 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
As part of the event, any uniformed police officer, firefighter or EMS/first responder who visits Rise'n Roll Bakery will receive a free donut and cup of coffee.