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Cops seek public's help for K-9 unit

Crystal C. Bozek


Police are turning to the public in their quest to bring man's best friend onto the force.

The department has placed advertisements on local access television and sent letters to businesses in hopes of getting enough money to go forward with a K-9 Unit.

They hope to have a police dog by the end of August, when a 14-week training session begins in Boston.

The dog will cost $4,000 to $7,000, but the price tag for a cruiser could run as high as $30,000.

"We're looking for some community support. We're tight on time. If the funding comes in, it will happen," Patrolmen Union President Daniel Proietti said. "The biggest expense is the vehicle. It needs to be fitted with special equipment. Any help is needed and appreciated."

Proietti said once the dog and cruiser are in place, the program would cost the city about $1,500: "And that's if we don't get donations -- food, leashes, toys, or veterinary care -- so it's very small."

This isn't the first time the city has turned to the public for help.

The Fire Department asked businesses to financially support a fire truck earlier this year.

Mayor Dean Mazzarella said it brings a sense of ownership to the public.

"When you fund something privately, and the public supports it, its life expectancy is much better," he said. "When the dog solves a crime or graduates from training, people can say, 'Hey, I helped fund that.' They take ownership."

At-large Councilor James Lanciani said having a police dog has been long anticipated.

"There's always been a desire to have a police dog. We've been able to acquire them from state police or other communities, but sometimes that can take an hour depending where they're coming from," Lanciani said. "I've heard some of the area we secured dogs from aren't available to us anymore. ... It will be useful."

Anybody needing more information about making a donation for Leominster's K-9 unit should contact Officer Daniel Proietti at the Leominster Police Department, 978-534-7560, or e-mail him at [email protected].

"It's a good feeling to see some progress," Proietti said. "Things are starting to happen for the better because everyone is working together."
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