It's a tough gig. Tackling, sniffing out narcotics and bombs — they can do things no human can.
The first class of highly trained German shepherds in the Glendale Police Department's K-9 unit are nearing a well-deserved retirement, when they will go home with their current handlers. Now, supporters of the program are in a mad dash to raise $100,000 to buy new dogs. It's a tall order, given the state of the economy and its pinch on the usual funding sources.
The K-9 program has always been donor-supported, with minimal city resources going to keep it running. That means it's incumbent on the community these dogs serve to step up and put their money where their gratitude is.
To be sure, these dogs aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for. The trained pups are brought in from Germany, where they're raised to obey only German commands. At up to $25,000 a pop, having four dogs on the force can add up pretty quickly. But it's the price this community has accepted for having a robust and comprehensive police department, which can tap these canines for myriad responses.
Narcotics have become an increasingly intrusive public safety threat, not to mention Glendale has seen its fair share of bomb responses. During a police chase, nothing beats a canine. And their mere presence can serve as a mighty deterrent.
With a major fundraiser planned for Oct. 9 at Verdugo Park, it's a good way for the community to come out, donate and meet these canine officers in person. As the fundraising effort no doubt continues into the future, let's not forget that, especially with the clock ticking, every little bit helps.