Fraser/Winter Park Police raise funds to buy K-9 unit |

Fraser/Winter Park Police raise funds to buy K-9 unit

The Fraser/Winter Park Police Department is halfway toward its goal of purchasing a police K-9 unit.

The trained police dog, which would cost $17,000, would be a welcome addition to the department, said Sgt. Brett Schroetlin.

“It’s going to be a very proactive tool for our agency,” Schroetlin said, pointing to the incident this fall when two men attempted to rob Wells Fargo Bank in Winter Park.

The search for the bank robbers ended unsuccessfully after teams of officers searched for several hours.

“(With a K-9), we would have been able to verify more quickly that (the bank robbers) were away from the area,” Schroetlin said.

Drugs are on the rise county-wide, he added; a trained K-9 would be able to search a car or house for illegal drugs more quickly, due to their superior sense of smell.

“We’re seeing drugs just as much as alcohol,” Schroetlin said. “Possession of meth, cocaine … we’re running into that on a weekly basis.”

Police K-9’s are like family dogs, Schroetlin said. They’re only aggressive when they have to be. They’ll protect officers and themselves, but they’re not violent, he explained.

If the department obtains a K-9, Schroetlin plans to care for it himself and take it to community events and schools to help create awareness.

But purchasing a K-9 isn’t cheap. The dogs, usually a German shepherd or Belgian malinois, are shipped from overseas. The dogs cost $6,000; training is another $3,500. The K-9 also needs additional pricey items to do its job properly, including a training suit, protective armor, and a trauma kit if the dog is injured.

Schroetlin believes the costs are worth it. He is seeking funding toward purchasing the dog through grants, donations, the department’s officer training fund and drug-seizure money. The department currently has raise about $8,000 toward its goal.

Anyone wishing to make a donation for the purchase of a K-9 unit can call the police department at (970) 722-7779, or stop by their office inside Winter Park Station.

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