"This is his paycheck," Officer Eric Javins said.
Robbey goes everywhere Javins does, but he's able to do things his handler can't.
"Ears, nose, eyes will pick up movement faster, hear people inside a building and smell people a lot quicker than you will," Javins said. It's a tool that gives Sgt. Stan Steele piece of mind when dealing with criminals. He said, "They respect that dog as much as a gun. Dog tends to end the situation sooner." During a recent rash of burglaries, Robbey was deployed five times a week or more. That's why they keep two dogs, despite the expense. Chief Steve Lamken said, "It's a high cost item for the department, but when you look at officer safety, look at what they do bring to the table, what they can do for us, it's worth the program."
Lamken said budgets are tight. In recent years, the GIPD cut summer youth programs, motorcycle patrols, and the Community Police Academy.
But they kept the dog program, despite the cost. So when the Grand Island Community Foundation called with grant money, police knew what to do with it. Officer Javins said, "A lot of our equipment was purchased when we got a canine program ten years ago. A lot of equipment gets worn over time. Due to budget restrictions, and everything else, we have to watch where we spend our money to get the best we can have." The grant is for $1053.83 from a fund set up by 20–year–old Jackson Dinsdale. He doesn't want the spotlight, just wants to help. Foundation CEO Tammy Morris said, "It was something important to him and he wanted to find a way to impact the entire community." The first purchase is a new doghouse for Robbey, and the department's second dog Noa. Javins said, "This donation to us means getting or replacing equipment we've needed to replace for a while. The doghouse was a huge purchase. Both of our doghouses are getting very, very old. We want to make sure our dogs are taken care of."
A second dog team consists of Officer Jeremy Gildersleeve and his dog Noa. They are currently attending training, so they can be certified as a team.