K9 dogs are an invaluable asset to police departments, sometimes even losing their lives while protecting fellow officers. After learning that one Virginia K9 had been killed in the line of duty, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper donated money to outfit all of the department's canine officers with bulletproof vests.
Krijger, a Belgian Malinois, was a K9 police dog serving for the Norfolk Police Department (NPD) in Norfolk, Virginia. In January 2016, police responded to a domestic dispute near Virginia Beach. When the suspect exited his house armed with a handgun, Krijger was brought out to help subdue him. During the standoff, the suspect shot and killed the police dog, WAVY reports.
Krijger was only 4 years old.
"It is with heavy hearts we announce the loss of a loyal and dedicated member of the Norfolk Police Department," NPD announced that evening, according to Shareably. The department added that Krijger had been with them "for three years and faithfully gave his life to protect ours."
Krijger had not been outfitted with a bulletproof vest during the altercation that took his life. Sources familiar with the incident believe that the K9 would have survived the gunshot if he had been wearing a protective vest, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
The K9's death prompted Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch to mount a fundraising campaign to help purchase bulletproof vests for the police department's dogs. The protective vests would cost roughly $2,200 a pop.
Cooper, who was set to give a lecture in Norfolk, learned of Hatch's campaign through social media. The news anchor donated his speaking fee, which amounted to enough funding to outfit all 18 K9 units in the NPD.
"He's such a good dude," Hatch said of Cooper. "And genuine."
The NPD publicly thanked Cooper for helping "outfit our four legged heroes with ballistic vests!"
In 2014, Cooper discussed his affection for dogs during an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes."
"I'm a total dog person," Cooper said. "I just really love dogs. I like other people's dogs. I like dogs of all kinds. Pit bulls -- I actually love pit bulls."
The news anchor noted that he had recently interviewed dog researcher Brian Hare of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, who asserted that there was scientific evidence that canines communicated their love for humans by looking at them.
"The idea that a dog looking at you is 'hugging you with their eyes,' to me, is really kind of cool," Cooper said.