“We’re hoping within the next month we’ll have the dog picked out and the handler chosen,” Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said.
City Council approved the purchase of a new K-9 dog Monday night. The city hasn’t had a K-9 dog since 2010 when Remax left the department.
“We’re very excited to restore the program,” Hawke said. “It’s a very positive thing for the department and we’re all very excited about it.”
Although the Grand Haven department can use K-9 units through the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police, Hawke said having their own would provide instant access when a dog is needed.
“It’s a question of availability and response time, and all of the community outreach we’d like to do,” Hawke said.
He noted that they’d like to use the dog in the schools for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
Community fundraising of more than $18,000 led to the K-9 purchase. That also includes funding for handler training, equipment and vehicle outfitting.
“We’ve been fundraising for several months, and we’ve received overwhelming support,” Hawke said.
Beyond the start-up costs, local businesses have pledged to provide veterinarian services and dog food donations.
“All these folks have been very helpful in getting us where we’re at,” Hawke said.
Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.