Police K-9 Initiative
Police K-9s serve as an acute part of Law Enforcement by assisting Police Departments with complicated tasks. One of the most critical things a K-9 offers is the speed of completing the job. Finding a bomb, accelerants, kidnapped or missing person, narcotics and crime scene evidence quickly can be a matter of life or death. Police K-9s routinely bring this peace of mind to their handlers. Police dogs are also trained to apprehend suspects and hold them hostage. In many situations, they are the first ones to put their lives on the line and go against an armed suspect to protect their human partners or hostages.
In many states K-9s are not fully funded by their state or local municipalities which means they rely heavily on private donations. The Hometown Foundation’s most recent initiative is to address the essential need for Police K-9s, nationally. We began this initiative in 2016 because of the passing of Wethersfield Police K-9 Officer Thor. K-9 Thor was killed in the line of duty and since then we have made it our mission to donate K-9 Officers to local police departments at no cost to them. We understand placing a K-9 with a handler is a complex process so we go through every step as carefully as possible to ensure the best match is made. The services and opportunities we provide are listed below.
Our team works very closely with Police Departments on various fronts.
- Provide the department with a Police K-9 that specifically matches the request. K-9 training covers explosives and narcotic detection, suspect apprehension, missing person and cadaver searches and even locating items such as cell phones or hard drives.
- Purchase of necessary safety equipment for K-9s.
- Provide the department with fully-funded K-9 training. Training covers explosives, and narcotic detection, suspect apprehension, missing person and cadaver searches and even locating items such as cell phones or hard drives.
- Provide use of our K-9 training facility located in Farmington, CT at no cost to all service K-9s and officers.
In 2017, we donated six police K-9s in four states. The Hometown Foundation is extremely careful with K-9 allocations. One of the common ways a K-9 can be injured or killed in the line of duty stems from poor training. Therefore, our Police K-9 donation recipients are required to compete in at least one of our Police K-9 Challenges held throughout the year. We currently host two annual K-9 Challenges with one located in Farmington, CT and the other located in Newtown, CT. A Police K-9 Challenge allows independent judges to evaluate the K-9’s performance based on obstacles, obedience, and an apprehension K-9 drill. These drills represent the obstacles K-9s frequently face when doing actual police work.
Our foundation carefully monitors the results of the challenge to certify that our K-9s are safe and ready to perform police work. As a result, we have donated more than $50,000 in K-9 training and equipment since the launch of our Police K-9 initiative. We continue to raise money and donate Police K-9s yearly on a case by case basis.
In addition to donating Police K-9s, we also promote education and awareness through our various programs. One program we have in place is called Project Blue Paw. The program is held at high schools located throughout Connecticut and incorporates students with intellectual learning disabilities and partners. The curriculum is similar to a job fair where experts from Law Enforcement teach the critical components of the police and K-9 occupation. An emergency response veterinarian attends and speaks about how they handle a simple wound to a serious trauma. A K-9 trainer utilizes their time to cover occupational and behavioral challenges they encounter when developing a Police K-9.
Generally, we bring 8-10 week old future police puppies to the event to add some fun for the participants. This is also an opportunity for us to begin training our puppies to be social and become accustomed to interacting with children with special needs. The 90 minute session is then completed with a Police K-9 demonstration from the State or Local Police Department.
As a way of raising visibility and awareness to these important modules, The Hometown Foundation organizes Police K-9 Awareness month every February, a multifaceted campaign consisting of in-store fundraising, cash collection boxes in local businesses, t-shirt sales, Blue Jeans for Blue Paws and much more. Funds collected are used for purchasing Police K-9s, GPS tracking collars, training and safety equipment. In addition to Police K-9 Awareness Month, other events are held throughout the year to raise funds for K-9 units.
The Hometown Foundation would like to thank its 2017 and 2018 sponsors and community partners.