Arapahoe County Sheriff thanks CoBank’s Robert O’Toole for the contribution. Back the Blue’s Judy Anderson looks on.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s newest K-9 officer, Roman.
Diane Lewis, Jen Leggatt and Judy Anderson are regular citizens who love dogs and respect law enforcement and wanted to do something to show it. A few short years ago they formed Back the Blue, a nonprofit, to raise money to buy bullet-proof vests for police” K-9 officers.” Now they’ve taken their efforts to the next level.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave Walcher said that when he became sheriff in 2014, the department had two “K-9 officers” and two deputies who were trained dog-handlers. He believed it would benefit the public and the department to have two more. Since a great many sheriff’s deputies are assigned to the City of Centennial, it is also important to Centennial Mayor Stephanie Piko.
Through the efforts of Back the Blue, CoBank was enlisted to help make the sheriff’s office goal a reality. On June 7 CoBank Chief of Staff Robert O’Toole presented Walcher with a check for $8,500 toward the cost of acquiring and training their newest K-9, Roman. A grateful Walcher explained that dogs in a patrol environment save lives. Their ability to track criminals through ground disturbances and microscopic skin cells far exceeds that of humans. Criminals are less likely to run away from a K-9 than a human officer. Sending dogs into unknown situations before regular officers enter the scene lessens the risk to the officers.
The full cost of a police K-9, including acquisition, training and officer time, can exceed $30,000. Though it sounds like a lot for a dog, they perform invaluable police functions. The average career of a K-9, most of which are German Shepherds, is seven to eight years.
Diane Lewis, Jen Leggatt and Judy Anderson really Back the Blue.
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