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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Police Bowled Over by Support for New K-9 Unit

Police Bowled Over by 
Support for New K-9 Unit:
Fundraiser at Nutmeg Bowl draws crowd
(Posted to 1/22)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – As he sent a neon-colored ball hurtling down the alley, Fairfield Police Lt. Jim Perez hoped no one was paying much mind to how his bowling shoes clashed with his uniform. It was a trivial concern in contrast to the important mission he and fellow department members were undertaking early Saturday.

Set up at Nutmeg Bowl at 802 Villa Avenue, the Fairfield Police Department was conducting a fundraising event for its new K-9 unit. The event was sponsored in large part by Bearingstar Insurance, which helped with coordination, secured merchandise for an onsite raffle and recruited bowlers.

Sgt. Sue Lussier, a spokesperson for the department, said events like these are critical to bringing the unit to fruition. “We not only have to purchase the dog, but we have to train the handler, buy equipment, outfit a vehicle with a transport cage that’s safe for the canine, sustain training for the handler for five years and pay a daily handling fee.”

That isn’t even the full extent of expenses, said Lussier. “There are also expenses for vaccinations, grooming, medical care, permits, licensing fees and handler membership fees. There’s so much involved with the K-9 program – it’s not just the initial purchase but sustaining the operation for five years, the normal life of a working dog.”

With regard to the schedule for rollout, Lussier added, “Our goal is to purchase the dog by March 1, train it with the handler in April and May, and put the dog into service June 1.”

Lussier said there’s a pressing need for the K-9 unit. “Every single week we’re calling for a canine from another town or agency to supplement our routine patrol work. We just made an arrest this week at a burglary in progress in which we used a dog, to track a suspect. The dog would also be used for building searches, area searches and missing person cases. Hopefully we’ll have a dual purpose dog that can also provide narcotics detection.”

Kathy Piro, an Insurance Consultant with sponsor Bearingstar, had put all of her energies toward the event and supplied such raffle items as a Vera Bradley handbag, wine basket, auto safety kits, Sound Tigers tickets, a Molto restaurant card and teeth whitening services. “This is an important need for the town that’s probably overdue, and I’m going to stay committed to the cause.”

Attendees Jen Corbin from Shelton and Mike Lindberg, a Fairfield Letter Carrier from Stratford, were equally committed and were purchasing raffle tickets. “I’m friends with a couple of Fairfield cops and want to help support the effort behind the K-9 fundraising,” said Lindberg.

Lussier noted that the department is currently at 40% of its fundraising goal and she hoped that today’s event would help them reach their target. 

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