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The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office has received a donation of a vest for one of its canine officers and received a zero interest loan to purchase nine patrol cars.

The canine vest was a gift from James Allen in memory of his wife, Margo, Sheriff Wes Tripp said.

“He wanted to do something in honor of her and set money aside,” said Major Neil Aycock.

The vest is for Bosco, who is handled by Sergeant Andy Cash.

“It is humbling to have community support,” Tripp said. “It’s definitely heartfelt. I and my family have known Mr. and Mrs. Allen for years. Because we know it comes from his heart it is very appreciated.”

The sheriff said the donation by Allen is money which doesn’t come out of county funds. “We are taxpayers serving taxpayers. We’re very humbled by the donation from Mr. Allen.”

The vests, Aycock said, are stab and bulletproof.

“We’ve been very fortunate the county provides the handlers kennels and are given a small supplemental fee for maintaining and caring for the canine when not working,”  Tripp said. “To be a canine handler it takes a special person. That canine is that officer’s partner. There is continuing education on a regular basis which maintains the dog’s certification for courtroom testimony. We use a local provider, Tennessee Bowling of Ventosa Kennels in Scotland Neck, and she in turn provides canines nationwide.”

Board of commissioners Chairman Vernon Bryant said donations like these help save the county money. “I appreciate the way the handlers handle their dogs.”

Meanwhile, Halifax Electric Membership Corporation approved a zero percent loan of $243,000 for the sheriff’s office to buy nine fully outfitted Dodge Chargers, Tripp said.

“It’s a good way for them to invest back into the community,” Chief Deputy Scott Hall said.

Tripp said county Finance Director Mary Duncan and County Manager Tony Brown were instrumental “in making this happen. They worked diligently with Halifax Electric to see this come to fruition.”

The new cars are replacing those which have an average mileage of more than 200,000, Tripp said, and will be for road deputies.

The loan will be paid back over three years from funds already budgeted for replacing vehicles, Tripp said.

“It’s a win-win for Halifax County,” Bryant said. “It’s a win-win for everybody. It’s Halifax Electric’s way of giving back.”

Tripp said the cars purchased from the loan “should take care of the remaining fleet of Crown Victorias.”