HAWTHORNE, NJ – Kaci Wiater, a freshman at Burlington County Institute of Technology partnered with her father, children’s book author, James Wiater of Millstone, NJ to purchase a ballistic vest for K-9 Nero of the Hawthorne Police Department. Kaci started hand making paracord dog leashes which she sold to raise funds to contribute to the cost of the vest. Kaci, who is studying Sports Medicine at BCIT, began making the leashes last year as a hobby. After starting to make Blue Line dog leashes and finding that they were popular, she set a goal to help buy and donate a vest from the proceeds of the leashes. The father and daughter were able to split the cost and ordered the vest in December of 2017.

The team donated the ballistic vest to K-9 Nero and his Partner Officer Jim Hayes at the Hawthorne Police Department. The vest is a Bark 9, threat level III from Safariland. With the cost of $900, the vest is puncture resistant and capable of stopping a bullet from a handgun. Officer Hayes who requested the vest from Big Dog Books last fall was very happy and excited to receive the vest, knowing that his partner Nero will now have added protection while doing his job. Nero is a two year old German shepherd who specializes in narcotics detection for the Hawthorne Police Department and helps local neighboring towns when needed.

Nero is a 2017 graduate of the Montclair State University K-9 class. “The Hawthorne Police Department is extremely grateful to Kaci Wiater and James Wiater and his family for their unselfish devotion to our Law Enforcement K-9 Officers," Captain Knepper said.

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This is the fifth vest for author James Wiater of Millstone, NJ who uses the proceeds from his children’s book, “The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog” to purchase vests and other safety equipment for K-9’s. The book started as a simple story about a K9 officer that Wiater had made up for his daughters. The book was titled after real life “K9 Solo” who was killed in the line of duty in Bradley Beach NJ in 1998. The publishing of this dog loving children’s book is a dream come true for James Wiater. “Back in 1998, after reading the article about the police standoff and how Solo lost his life in the line of duty, I made a promise to myself that one day I would purchase a bullet proof vest for a K9 officer,” Wiater said.

Since the books publishing in August of 2016, Wiater has donated four Body Armor Vests, three pet oxygen kits and three field trauma kits to K-9’s throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania from the proceeds of his book. Wiater also recently ordered his sixth and seventh vest which will be donated to the Hudson County and Atlantic County Sheriff’s K-9 Department as well as more field trauma kits for local K-9s.

To purchase a copy of “The Adventures of Solo, The Big Dog”, please visit Bigdogbooks.net or email Jim@bigdogbooks.net. Or visit our GoFundMe page for anyone who may be interested in making a donation. Friends of Solo/K9 equipment.