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New K-9 Unit on the Way, But Funds Needed

Officer hopes for aid to buffer $12K cost of dog and necessary training.

It’s been more than seven months since Washington Township’s first designated K-9 Unit was removed from the force.

That removal was involuntary, however,

Without Cecere on the squad, there could be no Kobe.

But as time has gone on, one officer believes the department would still greatly benefit from having a K-9 Unit, and has taken the steps in making it happen.

With the approval from Chief Michael Bailey, Officer Mike Thompson is in the process of acquiring his own Belgium Malinois–the same breed as Kobe–with the hopes of properly training the pooch and bringing him into the Washington Township Police Department.

For Thompson, a member of the township police department since 2008, the prospect of owning and training a dog for police uses has always been an idea, but strengthened when Kobe came to the department.

“[Having a K-9] was something I was interested in,” Thompson said. “But it grew more when I was exposed to Kobe. It’s a great tool to have on the force.”

At this point, Thompson is awaiting the arrival of the dog, which will be trained at the same facility in Pennsylvania where Kobe was instructed. From there, the dog will undergo eight weeks of training, along with Thompson, to be most effective.

The dog has already been obedience trained, Thompson said.

Once a K-9 is trained under one owner, it’s unable to switch owners and take on the same capabilities, Thompson said. Hence the need for a new dog altogether, rather than trying to incorporate Kobe back onto the force.

After all training and testing is complete for both the dog and Thompson, the dog will be “road” ready near the end of April, 2013.

But with the new addition to the department comes a cost. Thompson, who will own the dog, is paying for some of the $12,000 expenditure from his own pocket, and likely won’t receive much help from the police department budget as it looks to keep costs flat.

Therefore, Thompson, through the Washington Township Police Benevolence Association, is seeking donations to help buffer some of the cost of bringing the fully trained dog into the department.

Residents interested in helping this cause can send or drop-off donations to the Washington Township Police Department, care of Washington Township PBA Local #301. The mailing address for the police department is 1 East Springtown Road, Long Valley, NJ 07853.

Woody November 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Hook, overreacting just slightly??? An occasional sniff = police state? And yes, a great deal of parents do NOT have control of their kids. They choose to be friends with them instead of parents, hence my idea. Hey Jason, ask Mr. Pendergrast what he thinks? I'm Woody and I approve this message
Chuck Ruff November 13, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Well Woody, as the article you linked points out, the drug problem is not limited to those in school. So why limit the “dog sniffs” to just juveniles in the HS??? How about we place the police and dogs all over town, and every time you walk into the library, the bank, the Dunkin Donuts, whatever… the dogs give you a sniff and search for drugs. Are you ok with these random searches on your own person???
LLT November 13, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I wouldn't mind probably because I don't have anything to hide. If it keeps addicts out of our town and possibly save the future of a young person......I say, "dog sniff away"! Hookerman you seem a little edgy...."just sayin".....
Jack James December 19, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Why do towns in Morris County feel the need to purchase K9 dogs? Look at the start up expenses of close to $20,000 to purchase and train the dogs, supply housing and meals for both at training, specially equipped SUV's with air conditioning, special setup at the officer's home, vet bills, food bills, liability insurance and let's not forget...police overtime whenever the officer is called out whether it is in the township or requested by a neighboring town...at the cost of time and a half in salary. Does the township really warrant an increase of this budget this size in today's economy for the amount of crime that may be committed in the township? I think the mayor and council should reconsider the price tag on this before it is added to the budget. Sure, there may be donations in the beginning but in the long run it's just too expensive. I believe the Morris County Sheriff's dept. has somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 6, yes, 6 SUV type vehicles with K9 dogs, more then enough to help in the mutual aid department for communities. Look at your town crime stats, is it really necessary to re-engage another K9 unit just because we need the feel of crowing or can we use the Morris County Sheriff, this is not Essex or Bergen county, I think the Mayor and council should revisit this before we make a substantial budget increase for a service that can be provided on a county level..
PD73 February 17, 2013 at 02:37 PM
LV does not need a K9 unit. Use the county resources when a dog is needed.

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