Later, Muterspaw, who has been critical of police officers who use unnecessary force, sometimes deadly, said nights like “Candy with a Cop” allow residents to see officers differently.
“It shows the amount of support Middletown has for its police department,” he said. “It just shows that we are building something really good here.”
Muterspaw believes the department’s canines, just like their human partners, should be equipped with the best safety equipment. Canines typically cost about $8,000 and their training is expensive. The department wants to protect that investment, Muterspaw said.
“People forget the dog is one of our officers,” he said. “They go to the calls, they respond, they help. That dog having a vest is huge. Look around the country. Police dogs are getting shot.”
So far this year, 29 canine officers have died, according to the Officers Down Memorial. Of those, seven were shot and one stabbed. Canine officers being killed in the line of duty has steadily increased recently. There were 18 deaths in 2013, 20 in 2014 and 27 last year, according to the memorial.
Middletown officer Marco Caito brought his German shepherd Aki, who was wearing his vest, to Triple Moon last week. Caito said the vest gives his dog “an extra sense of security” and may save his life if he encounters a violent criminal.
“At least I’m not sending him in on a suicide mission,” Caito said. “It (the vest) buys officers time if their dog is attacked.”
Gibson said she met canine officers and their partners during a Broad Street Bash event over Fourth of July, and she and her two sons, Hobie, 9, and Eli, 5, instantly connected with them. She was hoping to add a drive-through window on her coffee shop this year, and when that was delayed, she decided to fund a canine, not caffeine.
Later, she was asked about how some officers around the country have been treated on the heels of violence.
“It’s a shame our society has gotten to this point,” she said. “We need to support our officers. It saddens me that we’re always looking for people to blame. There is no respect whatsoever. They just want to go home at the end of the day. Sure, they make mistakes. We all do. We want perfect in an imperfect world.”
At least for one night, inside a downtown coffee shop, everything seemed perfect.
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