CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Police Department seeks residents and businesses' assistance to raise $30,000 to restore its K-9 unit.
Last year’s health-related retirement of K-9 officers Rex and Edo resulted in the unit's suspension. Rex died in May.
Police, faced with limited funds, now borrow a K-9 unit from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office or the state Department of Corrections.
The trained dogs are not always available, Crestview policeman Sam Kimmons said. “There’s been times we’ve needed to track a suspect and there’s no way to do it.”
A recent example was a February incident involving a possibly armed suspect in a residential area near North Okaloosa Medical Center. By the time a borrowed K-9 unit was able to get to the scene, rain washed away the suspect’s scent, Kimmons said.
“Canine teams are an essential component of any law enforcement agency,” Police Chief Tony Taylor stated in a fundraising letter.
K-9 units' services include:
• Controlled substances detection during traffic stops and searches of buildings and vehicles
• Search-and-rescue, including locating lost children and vulnerable adults, dead bodies and tracking fleeing suspects
• Scent discrimination to match a suspect with a weapon or object used in a crime
• Instructional presentations to schools and community organizations, including drug prevention education.
“We’ve already got all the equipment from our previous K-9 program,” Kimmons, who coordinates the campaign, said. Dog food and veterinarian care is in the police department’s budget.
Two donors, including Little Caesar’s Pizza and an anonymous supporter, have contributed $1,000 each to the effort. Those contributions, in addition to several others, including a $500 donation from the Crestview Wal-mart, bring total donations to more than $3,000.
“They really opened all of our eyes to the value of trained police dogs for the community,” Little Caesar’s co-owner Karen Angelosante said. “I never thought of them searching for lost children and at-risk adults.”
At least two Crestview police officers have indicated interest in training with the new dogs to form K-9 units, Kimmons said.
“Once handlers are selected, they have to go to school together because they have to be a team,” he said. “The handlers have to be proficient in the commands and the dogs have to respond to the commands.”
The CPD plans to acquire German shepherds known for their intelligence, courage, agility, socialization and devotion, Kimmons said.
“As soon as we reach our $30,000 goal, we want to get the dogs purchased,” Kimmons said.
Little Caesar’s Angelosante, and her husband and co-owner Joe Davenport,are proud to contribute toward the program, Angelosante said.
“The community at Crestview has been really good to us and we like to give back,” she said.
WANT TO HELP?
K-9s for Crestview seeks $30,000 in business and resident donations to acquire two police dogs for the Crestview Police Department. Sponsorship levels are as follows:
●Wet nose: $10-100
●One paw: $101-500
●Two paws: $501-1,000
●K-9 Defender: $1,001-$5,000
●K-9 Protector: $5,001 and up
The donor with the highest contribution, or who contributes complete $15,000 funding for one dog, will earn naming privilege (with some restrictions)
Make checks payable to the Crestview Police Department Auxiliary.
Contact Patrolman Sam Kimmons, 305-7831 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for details.