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POPD gets a doggie donation

Thanks to the same local organization that helped the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office hire its new canine officer, the Port Orchard Police Department is now ready to enlist a new four-legged drug finder.

The Peninsula Dog Fancier’s Club, based in Kitsap County, donated $5,000 at its last meeting in June. This amount, added to the other donations from community organizations, will cover the cost of the animal, along with its training and that of its officer handler.

POPD Chief Al Townsend said his department needs a new police dog because its current dog, Charlie, is now 8 years old, which is just about retirement age for canines.

And the department needed donations to replace him, Townsend said, because although drug dogs perform an invaluable service, most police departments do not have enough money in their budgets to purchase one on their own.

Several years ago, Charlie was purchased with a $5,000 donation, and Townsend estimated he would need at least $8,500 to replace him — not to mention dog food and vet visits.

In October, Townsend will send Officer Randy Ernst to train with his new partner at the Puget Sound Security Detection Dogs School, and expects to have the pair commissioned for service this November.

Until then, Charlie will be available on an on-call basis, but will mostly be preparing for his relaxing retirement at the home of his handler, Det. Beth Deatherage.

Last year, the Peninsula Dog Fancier’s Club donated more than $7,000 the the sheriff’s office to purchase Elco, a German Shepherd, after their 10-year veteran retired.

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