Campaign to acquire new police dog beats fund goal

Thursday, April 18, 2002

PAY FOR PUP

By Bob Miller ~ Southeast Missourian

Thanks to a handful of large community donations, the Cape Girardeau Police Department will fill its canine vacancy sooner rather than later.

The Southeast Missourian Jr.'s Pay for the Pup campaign helped raise $14,803.75 for the purchase of a new police dog and the equipment and training that goes along with it.

That is roughly $6,000 more than the goal set forth by Cheryl Ellis, the Southeast Missourian Jr. editor. Nine thousand dollars is needed for the purchase of the dog and the first eight weeks of training. Some of the money may also go toward building a pen and paying veterinarian bills.

All the money that was donated will go directly to the K-9 unit, police chief Stephen Strong said.

"I was overjoyed with the support the community has given," Strong said. "The constant publicity is what made this all happen."

Much of the money was raised by children in area schools, but the majority came from a few large donations by organizations once word got out that the department needed a dog.

"I'd like to thank the kids in the community for contributing to this cause," said Ellis, who added that a few more donations could be upcoming. "We're really excited. It feels really good to do something like that. And for the kids, it makes them feel proud to have played a part."

When the department's latest canine, Jupp, developed an unexpected hip injury and was taken off duty in February, the department had no available funds to replace him.

Strong said he was planning to apply for some grants down the road, but he expected Jupp to be able to serve longer than he did.

With the donations, the department has already begun the process of looking for a German shepard. The department works through regional police dog trainer Mike Ervin.

Once a dog is located, it will go through eight weeks of training before the first official day of work. The dog will be asked to perform drug searches, crowd control, police protection, building searches and tracking.

In addition to the dog, an officer will go through training as well. Longtime K-9 officer Dennis Horn worked with Jupp for eight years. Since Horn has been promoted to corporal, Strong said the department is looking for a different officer to patrol with the new dog.

The department received five donations of $1,000 or more. The local carpenter's union donated $5,000, the SEMO Greek Week Committee raised $4,000, the Cape Jaycees gave $2,500, the VFW pledged $1,500 and an additional $1,220 came from an online auction.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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