Community donates thousands to privately fund K-9 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Community donates thousands to privately fund K-9

A trained search dog stationed in Marion (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS) A trained search dog stationed in Marion (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS)

Leaders in the city of Herrin hope to start a K-9 program with little to no taxpayer funding.

Police Chief Quinn Laird says the city has a prevalent need for a dog, in part to help combat drug problems in the city.

“The main purpose is the drug detection.” Laird said on Thursday. “Drugs are fueling a lot of other crimes. The K-9 is definitely a tool for that job, and that’s going to be our focus.”

Laird says the problem is that sufficient funds aren’t available from the City, but that in turn prompted a number of donations from businesses across town.

A marketing specialist from Baysinger Architects helped Quinn form a committee to raise funds.

Their goal is to collect more than $30,000 for startup costs, and a smaller sum annually after that.

“It’s something that I feel very passionate about and I think it’s something that’s definitely very good for my family and all of the other families in Herrin.” Said committee member Chris Trapini on Thursday. “It’s one of the best things that we can do to help our public safety officials help us.”

Marion Police Sgt. Justin Francis says it was a keen nose that made any arrests possible in the August 17th, 2016 armed robbery of Borowiak’s IGA grocery store on West Main Street in Marion.

"It would have just been pure luck for a human to find them where they were hiding at.” Francis said “The dog has that ability to track that disturbed vegetation, where someone just ran through grass or rocks. Initially, [Marion only had] one dog, and then it was such a good asset to the city that they put one dog on each shift.”

Francis says at least two of the dogs on patrol in Marion have paid for themselves in revenue generated from drug operation busts.

"Just because it's not something in the budget does not mean it's something that's not needed.” Laird said. "The outpouring of support from Herrin and its citizens is tremendous, and I think we are going to raise the money for this dog. I don’t think it’s a question. Plus, I think those people will continue to support us once they see what a benefit it is to our community."

The effort is known as ‘Invest in Herrin’.

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