La PORTE — The La Porte Police Department has tripled the number of paws and tails on its K-9 Division in 2018, though the public might get to meet the newest members for a few more weeks.
At the start of the year, only 6-year-old German shepherd Rambo served on the department when it came to four-legged officers.
But in February, a $1,000 donation from proceeds raised during a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1130 Bingo Night helped the department move forward with the purchase of a second K-9.
Police Chief Thomas Owens said the donation from the VFW Ladies Auxiliary was, at that time, the largest the department had received in its effort to get a second dog on the force.
Earlier in February, Banga Realty announced a portion of its sales would also go toward the K-9 program.
The community wasn’t done helping bolster the canine unit in an effort to combat the drug problem in the community, however.
In April, Gene and Mona Pavey, owners of Pavey Excavating Co. since its founding in 1954, pledged to donate the full cost of a trained police dog.
A properly trained K-9 can cost as much as $14,000, not including ongoing training programs or equipment such as kennels, collars, leashes, vests and special cages for patrol cars.
“La Porte has been good to us and our family over the years and we thought it was time to give back,” Gene Pavey said. “We know there’s a problem with drugs in the community, and we saw there was a need for another dog, so this is what we wanted to do.”
Having three K-9s, all trained in narcotics detection and working with the La Porte County Drug Task Force, will allow a full-court press against the drug trade starting this summer, according to the chief.
“This can really make a difference,” Owens said. “We’ll be able to put pressure on users and put the dealers out of business in this community by being proactive rather than reactive.”
Both new K-9s have been purchased and are now in training with their handlers. They aren’t expected to hit the streets for another six weeks.
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department was also the recipient of a generous donation toward its K-9 division this year – a gift from Cannon’s Automotive in February.
The sheriff’s department used the donation to replace one of its retiring dogs and maintain a four-dog crew, including one specializing in the detection of bombs and explosives.
The newest member, Bosco, works with Deputy Jon Samuelson. He joins Deputy Robert Greer and Argo; Deputy Andrew Hahn and Hokie; and Deputy Andrew Morse and Jager on the county K-9 team.
Plans & Progress
The Herald-Argus is taking a look at progress being made across La Porte County, and plans that are in the works or soon to get going. It started with a special section on Aug. 30, and will continue with a series of stories highlighting plans and progress by government entities, schools, businesses, clubs, churches and organizations. If you know of major progress in any endeavor, or big plans in the works, contact managing editor Jeff Mayes at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions and story ideas.