NSP, GIPD vie for K-9 grant money

NSP and GIPD vie for K-9 grant money.

Two law enforcement agencies are asking for your help to win grant money for K-9s.

Both the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) and Grand Island Police Department (GIPD) have applied for a grant which will help pay for safety equipment and healthcare for their canines.

Aftermath, a national company, is putting on a contest for K-9 units and awarding five grants totaling $15,000.

"The grant can be applied towards feeding, maintaining or training the K-9 unit and again those canines work as a pair. Any grant funds that we can get, especially with recent budget cuts, really helps us take the tax payers dollars and put those towards other necessary services with the police department." said GIPD Captain Jim Duering.

Both GIPD and NSP said that having a K-9 unit is a vital function of the police department.

"Well the benefit of having a dog is that it's kind of just an extension of your own eyes and also the incredible ability for them to detect with their nose." said NSP Lieutenant Gordon Downing.

Going through a mini police academy is something that these dual-purpose canines must do, but it doesn't come cheap.

"It helps us in our war on drugs and reducing drug activity," Duering said. "It also helps us in vital situations to keep both our officers and citizens safe with some of the patrol functions that they do."

"Imagine in a corn field that could be a pretty busy endeavor if you're just on foot, but with a dog they can smell, one, where the person has walked and two, the actual person who could be hidden in corn, or trees or grass and take us right to them," Downing said.

NSP is hoping to fill their final spot bringing a twelfth K-9 to the force and GIPD is hoping this grant will help with training costs with their second K-9.

"The thing with the K-9 is they are a team," Duering said. "It takes a lot of work for our handlers to maintain the training and for the dogs to maintain their status. We have health levels, training issues and all of those things that come into mix."

Voting ends Nov. 7.

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