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Safety equipment sought for Milton K-9 officer

Fundraiser seeks items needed for police work

An effort is underway to raise money for special equipment for Milton's police dog, Kyro.
February 10, 2014
MILTON, Ga. – A fundraising campaign is currently underway to ensure the only four-legged member of the Milton Police Department stays safe – and cool – on the job.

Project Paws Alive is spearheading the effort to purchase a complete package of protective equipment for Kyro, the Milton PD's K-9 officer. The equipment includes a ballistic vest, field trauma kit, cooling vest, work boots, vehicle alarm system and oxygen masks – all of which will be specifically fitted for Kyro.

Cheryl Allen, president of Grayson-based Project Paws Alive, said the campaign to raise funds for Kyro is necessary since most law enforcement agencies depend on donations to operate their K-9 units.

"People assume this equipment is standard issue to K-9s because they are sworn officers; [but that is not the case]," said Allen. "Due to the high cost of these items, many departments are unable to provide them."

The entire package of protective gear is estimated to cost about $6,000, which is the goal Allen has set for the Milton Police Department. To date, just under $1,000 has been raised through website donations, and additional fundraising opportunities are being finalized for the department.

"This project is important to us because it's the reason why Project Paws Alive exists," said Allen, who has helped numerous other law enforcement agencies through the program. "K-9s are often sent into violent and unstable situations first, [and] deserve to be protected just as much as their human officer partners."

Kyro is an 18-month-old German Shepherd and is the second K-9 to serve the Milton PD. He was named by his handler, Officer Chris Ward, in tribute to the K-9 who accompanied U.S. troops on the mission to find Osama Bin Laden.

The benefits to having a K-9 officer in the department, besides the public relations component in the community, are numerous, said Capt. Shawn McCarty.

"They can track missing persons, find narcotics and other evidence items and help quickly find and chase down suspects, among other advantages," he explained.

Ward was selected by McCarty to be Kyro's handler, and received 240 hours of training to work with the police dog.

While the need for a bulletproof vest is apparent, the cooling vest and vehicle alarm system are equally important for K-9s that work in hot climates, such as Georgia, said Allen.

"If an [emergency] condition is detected, the unit will activate the horn, siren and light-bar, and dual window drop," she explained. "It not only makes automatic corrective actions to the heat, it audibly and visually alerts everyone nearby. As a last measure, the system will open the vehicle door, allowing the K-9 to exit."

The alarm also works in cold temperatures in the event the dog is in danger.

For more information on the Project Paws Alive campaign for the Milton PD, or to make a tax-deductible donation for the equipment, visit Allen said 100 percent of the donations will go toward the equipment.

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Tags: Community & Outreach

  1. report print email
    Fundraiser for K9 equipment
    February 13, 2014 | 09:42 AM

    I am shocked that the Milton PDs' budget does not allow purchase of adequate equipment for a K9 officer. Do the human officers have to pay for their uniforms/vests themselves as well?
    This is ridiculous in my opinion and should be addressed by the responsible officials immediately.

    Concerned Citizen
  2. report print email
    Fundraiser for K9 equipment
    February 13, 2014 | 10:46 AM

    Reply to "Concerned Citizen" - Dear Sir/Madame, please educate yourself before posting such comments because you clearly do not know the facts. Almost all Georgia K-9 units are funded solely on donations. K9s fall under different regulations so do not place their equipment inline with the human officers. Also, check your voting facts - constituents voted to fund the K9 unit via donations so this is nothing to be blamed on "responsible officials". You will further find that the K9, his training, the officers training and other basics were fully funded by a charity golf event. This fundraiser is attempting to cover the remaining items. As a taxpayer you should be grateful that these additional costs are not placed on you or the citizens of Milton but rather are covered off by generous donations - most of which come from donors not in or even near Milton. Instead of making accusations towards things you clearly have not done any research on, why don't you instead support the efforts to get this K-9 his equipment? As a resident of Johns Creek I made a donation and I have no dealings with Milton. The fact is these K9s deter crime, find lost children and adults, get drugs off the streets, and go into highly dangerous situations to keep citizens and communities safe. The K9s are able to work 5 times faster than a human because of their keen senses and are an asset to any department. Plus they don't get paid so there is little to no additional cost. It's people like you that will cry foul if this K9 gets hurt or killed on duty. Like the saying says, and with all due respect - "if you can't get behind law enforcement, then feel free to stand in front of them". I doubt you go to work every day with the possibility of being shot or killed protecting others.

    David Frank
    Johns Creek
  3. report print email
    Reply to D. Frank
    February 14, 2014 | 10:46 AM

    Hello Mr Frank,

    I feel a little overwhelmed by your unnecessary aggression towards my request for government funding but I admit that I did not know about the full background of K-9 funding in the state of Georgia, many thanks for the insight.

    Nonetheless, I still think that K-9 programs should be part of every PDs' budget, especially looking at the extensive list of good reasons you have provided. I really support the idea of K-9 officers and would be more than happy if my tax dollars would be used for them. They are a great addition to public safety and should not have to rely on wealthy individuals - that's the point I was getting to when addressing the officials.

    I don't question but rather appreciate every public worker, no matter which uniform they wear or how many legs they have. And every citizen should be OK with funding public safety with their tax money and that's where politics come into the game.

  4. report print email
    Rude Person Above
    February 14, 2014 | 12:53 PM

    "constituents voted to fund the K9 unit via donations"

    Sorry hot dog, don't remember seeing this on any ballot.

    Bill S. Preston
  5. report print email
    Rude Person Above
    February 14, 2014 | 12:54 PM

    "constituents voted to fund the K9 unit via donations"

    Sorry hot dog, don't remember seeing this on any ballot.

    Bill S. Preston
  6. report print email
    Fundraiser for K9 equipment
    February 18, 2014 | 05:38 PM

    I agree with Mr. Frank 100%. Don't post comments without doing your homework and then complain when someone corrects you or claim it was aggressive. Nothing in that post is aggressive and several of us Milton business owners agree. And Bill's comment deserves no merit as he's obviously restricted to elementary school name-calling not to mention he too is incorrect. It took less than five minutes to go fact check online so perhaps you two should exert more effort doing positive things instead of playing victim and resort to name-calling.

    And to the comment about relying on wealth individuals "" if you read the entire piece and looked at how that organization is structured you would see they don't "rely on wealthy individuals". Everything is right there on the page link. They're a volunteer nonprofit that doesn't get paid and they fundraise with different items and also at different events throughout Georgia. In fact for this police dog they stood out in the rain and collected change at several locations over the last few weeks and they also got a large donation from out of state. So again, please review all the details before continuing to make statements that are inaccurate.

    The good news is that as business owners we've gone and funded the rest of the money they needed for the dog's equipment. So when you see the human and K9 officers in their new marked unit with all their new gear, protecting you and your families from the things you pretend don't exist here in Milton, just remember that it's all paid for and it didn't cost any tax payer a dime.

    Business Owner
  7. report print email
    K9 donations
    February 18, 2014 | 09:23 PM

    The truth is departments raise this money because they want to waiste money on things like community policing and making themselves look good. The department has and has always had the funds to take care of their offices and k9. They have consistently chosen to spend money on sending undeserving upper management to costly trips I've seas weekend and even month long trips. It's not a question of do they need it. The question is what do they do with the money you give them. The truth is the department could have a k9 for every officer for free but they choose to take donations and use the leftover money for other avenues. Do your homework on this department before you give your money. I'm all for protecting the k9 but it doesn't cost 6000. It costs less than 1000 to outfit a k9 and provide for care if done right. And if the dog is used for narcotics then why aren't the seizures bring used for equipment. That is what the seizure law is for. Good luck to the k9 team your going to need it

    Know more than you do
  8. report print email
    K9 Donations
    May 26, 2014 | 11:14 PM

    After reading the above and the comments left by "Know more than you do", I went and did my homework. I called other Georgia K9 Units and even several out of state. I also looked up the K9 equipment online and got a wealth of information.

    First, everything that "Know more than you do" said about the K9 equipment is wrong. In fact, the equipment costs way more than $6,000 but it so happens that this nonprofit gets all their equipment at a discounted price because they are a nonprofit. For example you can just google K9 ballistic vests that are stab and bullet proof IIA/III and it comes up with pricing from $1600-$2,000. My point is that anyone really wanting to validate this can, and in fact I did because I too was curious. I don't know anything about upper management vacations but that's not the point of this article. In fact this is only about the K9 and his handler who get sent into most calls first.

    I also did multiple checks on this nonprofit and it all checks out. When I contacted other police K9 units in the area they all seemed to know this group and have dealt with them.

    It appears to me the issues expressed are with the agency and not the nonprofit trying to help. That said, K9 units are classified as non-essential units in Georgia and therefore they receive no funding. That is why equipment for the K9 is not covered. Its also why they held a golf tourney to raise the funds to obtain and train the K9.

    My point is to please do your research before making comments online that are incorrect or bias. If you have a beef with the agency then fine but don't take it out on the individual officers - especially the K9.

    And to answer your question on the seizures, is because seizure funds are held for years as case evidence so the agency can't use it until its cleared and even then the Chief makes the call as to where the money goes and again, having done my homework, I found out that the K9 units generally get zero funding and often never see any benefit from seized money. Most agencies use seized money for city improvements, youth items, or otherwise.

    It should also be noted that agencies with K9s usually see a 10-15% decrease in crime year over year, so I'll be supporting the K9 unit going forward. It makes sense for our community.

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