UNIONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) - The Uniontown police are asking the public for donations to help bring back their K-9 officer program.
In the past couple of years, the Uniontown City Police Department has had two K-9 officers retire and pass away.
Right now, they are seeking donations from residents in Fayette County as well as surrounding areas in an effort to bring back the program they say is beneficial to the community.
They say their fundraising goal is at least $25,000. These funds will cover all the start-up costs, like getting two dogs, training them, adapting vehicles for K-9 usage and caring for the new furry police officers.
"Unfortunately, we live in a landlocked community where the tax rolls are declining each year, so we just don't have the funds to get things started on our own again," says Police Chief Jason Cox in a press release.
Police Chief Cox says the program is "extremely effective" when it comes to tracking and locating criminals and missing children.
Not only are the K-9s a good asset, they're also a way to bring the community together.
"As an administrator, I look at the program from two perspectives," Cox says in the same press release.
"It increases our effectiveness as a police department, because those are additional assets to assist on patrols, but it's also an asset for community relations. Everyone seems to love dogs, so having K-9s gives us the opportunity to do more projects in our community, especially when working with kids."
The two previous K-9 officers, K-9 Leonidas and K-9 Xavier, both passed away this year.
K-9 Leonidas retired in 2016 after being diagnosed with Wobbler Disease, which eventually led to euthanization this March.
K-9 Xavier retired after he was was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease a year ago, and he passed away in January.
The police department says their campaign has seen some support, but they're hoping they can spread the message to other communities as well.
The department says donations can be mailed to the Uniontown City Police Department, 45 E. Penn St., Uniontown, PA 15401. Checks can be made payable to the City of Uniontown K-9 fund.
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