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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Car Wash Goes to the Dogs

Car Wash Goes to the Dogs:
Fundraiser at Wired Wash supports police K-9 unit
(Posted to 2/19)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – Despite a National Weather Center Wind Advisory and bitter wind gusts topping 30 m.p.h., local residents came out to show their support for Fairfield’s finest and its new K-9 unit Saturday morning.

Wired Wash and Wax car wash at 484 Tunxis Hill Road hosted the Fairfield Police Department and its latest activity to raise funds to acquire and maintain a K-9 division. A portion of the day’s car wash proceeds were to be contributed to the campaign. Event highlights included free balloons, the department’s D.A.R.E. Car displayed onsite and officers present with dogs.

“The people in this town have been amazing with their donations,” said Public Affairs Officer Jay Valle while flagging down cars in front of the facility. “They understand the importance of having a K-9 unit, which will benefit all the neighboring towns, too. The enthusiasm has been incredible.”

Wired Wash owner Bob Grant was right alongside Valle and was happy to be involved. “I met the chief here at the car wash. We wash all the police cars for the town. I told him I would like to do some fundraising to give back to the community. He mentioned the K-9 effort and I suggested the theme ‘Our car wash is for the dogs.’ The rest is history. This is a fun event and I’m proud to be supporting it.”

Guiding cars into the entry area of the wash, one of Grant’s employees, manager/cashier Amy O’Malley, said, “It’s a good cause. I love to support the animals and our local officers. I’m an animal lover.”

Just rolling out of the wash drive-through, Frank Targowski of Fairfield, a retired Fairfield police sergeant, said, “I’ll do anything to support the Fairfield Police Department. We had a couple police dogs during my term, about 20 years ago. We used our dogs to apprehend criminals. There was a burglar at Tomlinson School one time who was hiding up in a crawl space. We wouldn’t have caught him without the dogs’ help. There were several times we used the dogs to find missing adults and children, too. We definitely need canines. They’re invaluable.”

Standing nearby, another former Fairfield officer, retired Lt. Phil Mascendaro, who served from 1973 to 2010, said, “I worked alongside Sgt. Bill Krafick, who was a canine officer with a white German Shepherd named Zack. The dog was a key part of our team and useful in tracking and crowd control. From my experience, one dog isn’t enough. I think we should have a minimum of three so we can cover all shifts. You never know when a critical incident will arise.”

Helping with traffic control, Fairfield Sgt. Hector Irizarry spoke about his own professional experience with dogs. “I was a canine supervisor at Stamford Hospital prior to becoming a police officer. The dogs were a key part of hospital security and helped patrol the hospital grounds. They were a great deterrent to any criminal activity that arose. I feel a K-9 unit for the department is overdue and I’m very excited to see it coming together.”

Fairfield Post 279 Police Explorer Craig Van Steenbergen, a fixture at many town activities, said, “I love the dogs and I wanted to help support the fundraising. We’re trying to get enough money for one dog now and one more in the future.”

A neighborhood resident, John Buturla, out walking his German Shepherd Gracie, also came by to lend support. He said his wife Karen was very instrumental in promoting the event.

Lisa Miro of Fairfield, another patron who had come down to help the cause, said simply, “This is a great effort. I love the officers. Anything to support Fairfield’s finest and the dogs.”