Members of the New Canaan Police Department announced in July via social media that they are kickstarting fundraising efforts to acquire a second K-9 dog.
The town first established a K-9 unit in 1985 with a German Shepherd, Ex, but the program was disbanded in 1994 when Ex retired. With the help of donations from both residents and businesses, NCPD acquired the a K-9 in 2010, and has had Apollo for more than two years.
Since then, there has been a push to expand the K-9 unit to include another dog.
The department’s recent post on Instagram was another push for fundraising after a successful, recent round of direct mailings, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.
“We’ve been trying for a while to raise enough funds to sustain a second K-9 unit,” Krolikowski said. “This recent post is part of an enhanced effort to raise money and get another canine.”
The department’s fundraising goal listed on the GoFundMe page is $100,000 and as of Wednesday afternoon, they are at $49,845. Krolikowski said he is hopeful that NCPD will raise the additional money by October.
The estimated total cost includes the cost of the animal as well as the equipment needed for the dog to perform its duties.
The addition to the police force will be a Labrador retriever, trained in tracking and narcotics detection, according to Krolikowski.
The new dog will be distinct from Apollo, a German shepherd.
“The [Labrador] will be a lot more approachable, which is better for school and police classes and for interacting with the public overall,” Krowlikowski said.
In addition to the dog’s outreach capabilities, it will undergo eight weeks of training with its handler Officer David Rivera for tracking missing persons and detecting all illegal drugs.
The dog’s training will giving the department “more coverage” and avoid having to call neighboring communities for K-9 backup, he said. The dog’s training will help NCPD adequately address growing problems they have identified in the New Canaan community.
“Part of our concern is the fact that we do get a number of missing persons cases, so it’s good to have a dog available as soon as we hear about those,” the chief said.
“This also relates to our effort in town for better control of narcotics, heroin specifically,” he added. “Unfortunately we have had some overdoses in town and cracking down on that enforcement is a big goal of our department right now. The dog will definitely help with our efforts there.”