Retired Navy SEAL and CNN anchor donate ballistic vests to police dogs

Jimmy Hatch, above, a Navy SEAL who was wounded in a failed attempt to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is now being recognized for raising money for police K9's.

NORFOLK, VA – CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and a retired Navy SEAL, Jimmy Hatch, have donated enough money to outfit Norfolk Police Department’s entire K-9 unit with ballistic vests, and enough left over for others in the county, just a few days after a Norfolk police dog was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Police were called to a domestic disturbance between 58-year-old Keith Richardson and his wife around 6pm on Sunday in the 1100 block of Land Street where Richardson was said to have been armed with a gun.

According to Officer Daniel Hudson with Norfolk Police, the wife was able to escape before Richardson barricaded himself in the home alone. The man inside had an extensive criminal history with four outstanding warrants for abduction, robbery, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, and brandishing of a firearm.

In spite of efforts by police and negotiators, after almost 8-hours, Richardson was ordered to come out and surrender. He left the house, armed with the gun, and opened fire on a K-9 Cop, Kriejger, who was taken to an area veterinarian where he later died from his injuries.

A member of the Special Operations Team returned fire and released a second K-9 officer who restrained Richardson until a Special Operations Team members were able to make the arrest around 1:30 a.m. He was taken to Norfolk General Hospital. Where he was treated for his injuries.

According to the Virginia Pilot, Retired SEAL Jimmy Hatch, who lives in Norfolk and is a former military dog trainer who has a charity that provides protective gear and training for military and police service. He launched a campaign in Krijger’s name to provide the lifesaving equipment that he believes would have spared his life.

He is raising money to buy bulletproof and stab-resistant vests. The equipment is said to cost about $2,200 apiece. In his efforts, he posted on social media seeking public support.

Anderson Cooper met Hatch last year during an interview about his 2009 mission to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan. The two were familiar and Cooper reached out when he saw the social media post. Cooper has donated enough money to provide 18 vests for the Norfolk Police Department and the remaining funds will help other local law enforcement to protect their K-9s.

According to Hatch, “Cooper wasn’t keen on me publicizing his donation…but I told him I was going to do it anyway. He’s such a good dude. And genuine.” “The donated vests come with a lifetime guarantee”, he said.

“My heart is broken for Krijger’s handler,” he said. Hatch was not a stranger to the pain of losing a dog in battle. “Among dogs, he stood out.”

Police will hold a private memorial service for Krijger at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Norfolk Police K9 Range on Cape Henry Avenue, followed by interment with full police honors in the Garden of the Pines Pet Cemetery in Virginia Beach.

The public is welcome to watch the procession.

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  • Penny M. Polokoff-Kreps earned her BA in Sociology from Queens College of the City University of New York. She is a published author, speaker, FL Supreme Court mediator, and a Guardian ad Litem. She runs a non-profit with her husband, a Vietnam veteran, providing nutritional supplements for veteran cancer survivors, and supporting veterans in obtaining service dogs. She is passionate about veteran's issues especially those related to PTSD and mental health.

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