Red Bluff Police Officer Many is often the first on a scene, diving into his work with little regard for the danger that it entails. These days, however, his partner breathes a little easier because the 3-year-old German Shepherd is safeguarded by a brand-new protective vest, thanks to the Red Bluff community.
The Red Bluff Police Department was without a K-9 officer for nearly a decade, but in 2011, Police Chief Paul Nanfito approved a capital campaign to raise funds to purchase a new dog. The support was overwhelming, and less than a year later, Many (pronounced "Manny") joined the Red Bluff Police Department.
In dangerous situations, however, a protective vest is a necessity, so Cornerstone Community Bank teamed up with the Red Bluff community to raise about $2,500 to help buy one for Many. It's a Level III ballistics vest, which is stab-resistant and will stop most handgun rounds, said Many's handler, Cpl. Michael Brown. "When he engages with a suspect, the vest will protect him," he says. "It's the same kind of vest I wear on duty, and it covers the same vital areas as mine does."
Police dogs can check a building much more quickly and thoroughly than human officers can, since they rely on their sense of smell rather than sight, Brown said. "He's found people that I know wouldn't have been found by us," Brown said. "We had one guy who was hiding in the river, and no one wants to go for a swim in full uniform. But Many went right in, so I went in after him, and there was the bad guy. He was so well hidden that we wouldn't have found him."
Cathy Lewis, the bank employee who spearheaded Cornerstone's fund-raising efforts, said, "It's important for the public to have a K-9 to help the police department do things that two-legged people can't do. He's already earned his money, big time."
Many of the donations came from sales of green tennis balls bearing the slogan, "Together We Support Officer Many." It would appear that Many appreciated the fund-raiser, as well. "We gave one of the balls to Many, and he turned into an instant puppy," Lewis said.
That's the nature of Brown's canine companion, he said. "He's just a lovable pet. He's very sweet, even when he's still jacked up on adrenaline."
Cornerstone Community Bank celebrates the North State's giving spirit, and is proud to champion its neighbors' philanthropic efforts.