Cheshire looks to add K-9 unit to police department

Cheshire looks to add K-9 unit to police department

The streets of Cheshire have been kept safe for decades by the men and women in blue who serve for the betterment of Cheshire residents every day. Soon, however, locals may start seeing an entirely different kind of officer around town—one who is dedicated to serve and protect, but on four legs instead of two. 

On July 30, the Cheshire Town Council met for a special meeting to discuss the possible submission of an application through the Hometown Foundation Inc., for a Police K-9 Awareness Program that is offered by the State of Connecticut 2020 Neighborhood Assistance Program. The Council unanimously approved the action, making way for the application to be submitted.

Councilor Don Walsh presented the program to the Council and outlined its potential benefits to the community.

“This is a great program that has donated fully trained K-9s to 70 different police departments throughout the state,” he said. “These K-9s can save 600 to 1,000 man hours of police work. … I fully support this application submission.”

According to the application, The Hometown Foundation Inc. is seeking $150,000 in order to “save energy by reducing service” by utilizing K-9 programs.

“The K-9s are needed for their enhanced use of intelligence, sense of smell, strength, and loyalty. K-9s are not fully funded by their state or local municipalities which means they rely heavily on private donations,” the application reads.

The Hometown Foundation inc. is a local non-profit organization which, in conjunction with Bozzuto’s, raises funds to support a variety of community needs in five distinct areas. Those areas are animal welfare, emergency response personnel, individuals with intellectual disabilities or in need, major illness, and the military.  

If the application is accepted, the Town will implement the program in two phases. The first would identify what departments within the CPD are in need of a K-9 unit, and the second would “establish a relationship with the police officer of the respective department who is in need of a K-9 unit.

The program would begin immediately after acceptance of the application and continue until July 2022. According to the itemized list of requirements, the application is seeking 10 K-9s at around $5,500 each.

Chairman Rob Oris also voiced his support for the application, reiterating the importance of the funding since the state doesn’t fully fund these programs. 

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