Bridgeport Council backs K-9 unit

BRIDGEPORT – Police Chief Andrew Klotz gave council an update on his research of the possibility of acquiring a K-9 unit for the village of Bridgeport.

It was at the Sept. 4 meeting that Klotz, along with full-time Bridgeport police officer Kevin Yates, who is interested in becoming the K-9 handler, presented their case for the need of a police dog.

Klotz, who has not yet sent out letters to local business asking for donations, has already received multiple donations from residents and local businesses.

“We haven’t yet sent out letters to local businesses and residents to receive donations, but they are coming in already,” Klotz said. “Bill’s Towing has a 2007 Ford Explorer – the cost of it is $10,200 – and he is willing to donate half of the cost of that vehicle to us. We are trying to talk to some local businesses and get the word out.”

The cost of the vehicle for Bridgeport Police Department would be $5,100. Along with monetary donations, they have also had veterinary services donated to them. Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas has agreed to donate a light bar and siren bar for the Explorer to help get the cruiser up and running.

Klotz has received $5,780 in donations, including half the cost of the Explorer. They need a total of $18,200 to make the K-9 Unit a reality.

“It’s a very good response. They are wanting to support this as much as the police department,” said Klotz. “We had a couple individuals and a couple businesses already donate.”

According to Klotz, the five weeks of training for the dog and officer will be $11,800, which is a one-time cost. The training will be done by Tri-State K-9, which gave Klotz and Yates a demonstration, with Yates in a bite suit. The dog that they are currently interested in is a Dutch Shepherd.

Klotz gave council the details of other costs, such as a cage in the Explorer so that prisoners can still be transported, a shock collar for training and door popper so that the dog can get out if his handler is in trouble.

Klotz also asked if the $3,000 that department will get back from Shelly and Sands Construction Co. could be placed towards the K-9 Unit account. The department will receive this money for the gas used during the recent road work in Bridgeport.

“One ex-patrolman that used to be in Bridgeport called me,” said Bridgeport Mayor John Callarik. “We should have had that dog 30 years ago. I think it is a good thing. I think when you get that dog and (people) know it, that is going to keep a lot of drugs out.”

Belmont County Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Fregiato thanked council for their support while he served as the Northern Division Court judge. Fregiato served as the Northern Division Court judge for 16 years.

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