Clinton police look to raise money for K-9 unit - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Clinton police look to raise money for K-9 unit

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Clinton police hope to raise enough money for a K9 program (GoFundMe) Clinton police hope to raise enough money for a K9 program (GoFundMe)

A shoreline police department is trying to bring back its K-9 unit and while it is faced with a budget crunch, they’re thinking outside the box.

They started a GoFundMe page to help raise money.

Clinton Police Chief Vince DeMaio said he actually did this once before at a previous job and it was a success.

So far, he said the response from businesses and those living in town, has been good.

"It’s a valuable resource for us and expands our operational capabilities. The problem is we're facing a huge budget deficit,” DeMaio said. “We're just trying to be creative in tough times."

The department launched the page last week, with the idea of raising money for a new police dog.

They've picked out a handler, and even have their eye on a German Shepard who would be their next K-9.

DeMaio said "$15,000 allows us to purchase the dog, extensive 12-week training course for the handler, and the dog and then certifications."

Under the governor's proposed budget, Clinton would receive $5.6 million fewer in state aid.

With everyone tightening their belts, the chief says they decided to look to alternative funding if they wanted to re-start the K-9 program, which was decommissioned back in the fall.

"There had been some issues with the dog, at one point, our dog bit a child early on. It’s an unfortunate situation, it happens, baggage comes along,” DeMaio said.

He added that the old dog even bit him, but said a K-9 is key when it comes to sniffing out drugs, or tracking criminals and missing people.

But without their own, right now they have to reach out to neighboring departments.

"It’s critical in emergency situations, especially with tracking, things of that nature. If we have a missing child we want to get on the scene and start searching for that child as soon as we possibly can,” DeMaio said.

The chief says the donated money will be placed into the department's budget, specifically for the K-9 program.

He says anything extra, will remain for future training and improvements to the program.

"It provides a vital need for us and without it we're relying on other agencies and we're at the whim, do they have the availability to provide us with it, or not,” he said.

The chief is hoping to be able to have the dog purchased, trained, certified and ready to hit the streets in time for the busy summer season.

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