COLUMBUS- The Columbus police department may soon get help in its work from a man’s best friend.
Efforts are underway to raise money to establish a K-9 unit for the department. According to Columbus Police Chief Charles Sherer, the unit would include one police dog trained in search and rescue efforts including narcotics searches. The dual purpose dog would also assist with making arrests.
“Our preliminary figures including a vehicle and costs came to about $95,000. An organization within the city said they would be helpful in putting together money to sphere this program. The city then said if they’re committed to the project how much money do you think they can come up with,” said Sherer.
The Cash for Canine campaign aims to raise $30,000 by December 31st with the help of the public. The funds would go towards the initial purchase of the dog in addition to the training costs for both the dog and its handler. According to Sherer, the city said if the public came up with that, then they would cover $65,000.
For years, the Nebraska State Patrol had a dog and handler stationed in Columbus, who could be called in to help deal with drug crimes. But, several years ago, the dog and handler were stationed elsewhere, so the department no longer has the services of a K-9 unit available.
The K-9 is a one on one system, the system consists of the dog and the handler. The dog and handler must be co-located so ultimately the K-9 department dog would live with its handler. Sherer says the most important choice they will make is who the handler will be. “The success or failure of the program will rest on the ambition of the handler and adds that the department will go through a selection process.
The department is looking to get a Belgian Malinois dog because of their athleticism, sustainability, and overall durability. The dog and its handler would then receive training at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training center through the Nebraska State Patrol for 13 weeks.
Sherer says the K-9 unit would also be a tool for educational and community activities. The CPD’s goal is to have a K-9 unit in operation by May 2019. “The dog would be an ever-present deterrent for crimes in the community; a positive department influence and a symbol of our commitment to evolve with the times to provide the most efficient and cost-effective law enforcement practices to all segments of our community,” said, Sherer.
If the department is successful with this project Sherer says the additional funds will go towards future K-9 expenses, possibly adding another dog. To help the CPD achieve that goal, you can mail donations to Columbus Area Future Fund, P.O. Box 1734, Columbus, NE 68602-1734. In the memo of the check, write “CPD K9 Campaign.”