MIAMI — The Miami Police Department needs the support of local citizens.

It is competing in a competition to win an SUV for the department’s K-9 unit that “Vested Interest in K-9’s” is giving away to the law enforcement organization that gets the most votes.

Miami has already made it to the top 30 contestants, the only Oklahoma department to do so, and you can help by simply voting once a day through Oct. 31 for officer Jacob Hamblett and officer K-9 Niko, a German Shepard who has been with the MPD for approximately two years.

“It is a great opportunity and an amazing thing that Vested Interest in K9s does,” Hamblett said. “They have already provided Niko with a ballistic vest and with us being in need of a new patrol car, I’m just thankful for everything they do and the opportunity.

“We are up against some big departments and high population areas, so we have to do our best to get the word out and get a lot of involvement from the area.”

The vehicle that the winning team will receive is a 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe.

“We entered that and we’re down to the top 30 finalists,” said Miami Police Chief Thomas Anderson. “For the top 30, you have to go online and vote at their website.

“We’re the only agency in Oklahoma; there’s nobody in Missouri and nobody in Kansas, so we’re trying to get the whole area to get online and vote for us,” Anderson said.

Miami is up against law enforcement agencies in California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Florida, “a lot of big areas, so we really need our community to get behind us,” Anderson said. “We definitely need it.”

To vote, find your K-9 team in the gallery online at https://www.vik9s.org/suvvote/ and click on the photo. Then click “Vote Now” and enter an e-mail address, and then click “Vote Now” to confirm the vote.

Official rules are at www.vik9s.org/suvgiveaway.