K9 officer, handler need your votes

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Calhoun and K9 Kuno are finalists in the Vested Interest K9 SUV sweepstakes. The winners will receive a new 2019 Chevy Tahoe fully outfitted for a K9 team. Voting closes at 8 a.m. Oct. 31. To vote, visit www.vik9s.org/suvvote.

PAW PAW — He helped find and bring home a 3-year-old child who was lost in the woods.

He has tracked and assisted in the apprehension of criminals. 

Wearing a bullet-resistant vest, he patrols Van Buren County with his partner, ready to spring into action.

Now he’s asking for your vote.

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Calhoun and his K9 partner, Kuno, are finalists in the Vested Interest K9 SUV sweepstakes, with voting now through 9 a.m. Oct. 31.

At the end of the month, the K9 team with the highest number of votes will receive a brand new 2019 Chevy Tahoe fully outfitted for the team. Deputy Calhoun and Kuno have been partners for just over two years and are certified in suspect apprehension, narcotics detection, tracking and article search. 

The team is used in general road patrol and SWAT, with Kuno wearing a ballistic vest that was donated by a family from Battle Creek.

It was in 2018 that Kuno assisted in the tracking and recovery of a child who had walked away from home in the middle of the night and become lost in the woods. Deputy Calhoun, with Kuno’s help, found the lost 3-year-old and he was reunited with his family.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., based in East Taunton, Mass., is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs working in law enforcement and related agencies throughout the country.

According to its website, since 2009, the organization has donated:

• More than 3,500 K9 ballistic vests;

• 800 K9 opioid reversal NARCAN Kits;

• More than $75,000 of K9 medical insurance premiums through its Healthcare for K9 Heroes program;

• Over $25,000 in K9 medical first aid kits, and;

• One Chevy Tahoe custom fitted for a K9 Unit valued at over $50,000.

To vote for Deputy Calhoun and Kuno, go to www.vik9s.org/suvvote and click on the team’s picture, labeled Paw Paw, MI.

Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter: @HPSwidwa