One of the newer Officers to the Tontitown Police Department turned two years old last week, and he has recently received a massive upgrade. Thanks to the generous donation made by Central States Manufacturing Inc., K-9 Mango now wears a protective, Kevlar vest like those worn by his two-legged counterparts.

A full-blooded Belgian Malinois, Mango was born in Bulgaria, nearly 6,000 miles away. According to his handler, Officer Tom Lowe, Mango is “Schutzen” trained. This is a German training program for dogs focusing upon the animal’s mental stability, endurance, structural efficiencies, ability to scent and willingness to work.

Police work runs in Mango’s family, according to Officer Lowe.

“For us to have him here,” he said, “Mango has to have at least six generations of K-9 police work in his bloodline.”

Named Mango at birth, Tontitown’s newest K-9 is a dual-purpose patrol dog and is trained to detect the odor of certain narcotics in addition to conducting area searches, building searches, tracking, article searches and fugitive apprehension.

“His job is more dangerous than our own,” Officer Lowe said. “He goes places with a speed and agility we lack, often in environments too dangerous for a human officer. That’s why we are so grateful for his vest. It’s an added layer of protection and security to keep this guy safe.”

According to Jim Silker, Central States Manufacturing CEO, the contribution is one the company has been eager to make.

“We are so grateful for the dedicated servants of the Tontitown police force,” he said. “When we heard about the opportunity to give back and equip a new member of their team with necessary protective gear, our employee owners rallied to help provide a vest for Mango. We look forward to more opportunities to partner with the city to help serve in any way.”

During his earliest stages of training, Mango was a bit of an escape artist, according to Officer Lowe.

“There was a six-foot kennel fence, and he just jumped and climbed over it – twice,” Officer Lowe said. Now, nearly two, he is settling into his role as a full-time member of the department.

“He’s a good, sweet boy with a sweetheart and a killer drive, and he loves to go to work,” Officer Lowe said.