Sheriff's Benevolent Posse announces $160,000 goal to add two K-9 deputies to Sheriff's Department lineup
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department wants to bring on two new crime-fighting dogs to assist in law enforcement efforts, and a partnering organization has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase and train the German shepherds.
The nonprofit Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse, which supports the department, aims to raise $160,000 to pay for two new K-9s.
The campaign — called Project Deputy Dog — would provide funding for the K-9 training, as well as food supply, veterinary care and other expenses. It also would take care of future canine purchases when current duty dogs reach retirement, an expense the Benevolent Posse named the Dog Care Endowment fund.
“The program is very much in its infancy, but we’re really encouraged by the initial response,” Richard Kline, president of the Benevolent Posse, told Noozhawk.
He estimated that about 15 individuals have contributed donations since the project launched in late July.
Dogs in law enforcement end their service when they turn 8 years old. One of the dogs currently in patrol service is nearing retirement, which prompted the Benevolent Posse to undertake its campaign.
“This is a cause it’s easy to get passionate about, especially for any of us who are dog lovers,” said Sue Pohls, a Benevolent Posse board member.
“It combines a tremendous law enforcement asset to help protect all of us who live in Santa Barbara County, and provides these dogs with a job and mission that they are enthusiastic about.”
The two new K-9 deputies would bring the total number of patrol dogs to four — two for narcotics tracking and two for bomb detection.
For many K-9 deputy dogs, the journey to the Sheriff’s Department involves a great deal of training.
The Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse is raising funds to add two K-9 deputy dogs to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, which currently has four dogs on duty. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)
“Many of the animals have been trained and bred in Germany or elsewhere,” Kline explained. “The Sheriff’s Office works with certified breeders.”
In April, the department announced the hiring of Odin, a 2-year-old German shepherd working with Deputy Philip Farley, his handler. Odin is the only deputy dog trained in bomb detection.
The volunteer Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse raises funds for and provides resources to the Sheriff’s Department. It also runs the “Keepin it REAL” education program, a tweaked version of the D.A.R.E. initiative, which law enforcement uses to discourage children from using drugs.
“We provide materials to the Sheriff’s Office that aren’t covered by their constrained county budget,” Kline said. “These are the folks who work to keep us safe every day, so we want to do the best we can to keep them safe.”