Bridgeport K-9 unit donors recognized

BRIDGEPORT – The Bridgeport Police Department recently presented plaques to Bill’s Towing, The Lansing Sportsman Club and Interim Health. These three local business in Bridgeport have made the biggest contribution in acquiring a K-9 unit for the police department.

“It’s just always a pleasure to work with the village and anything against drugs I’m for,” said Bill Coulson of Bill’s Towing, who donated half of the price of the vehicle for the K-9 Unit. “Santos will be a big asset for the village and hopefully he will down on the legal activity going on.”

The police department was overwhelmed by the amount of donations that went towards Santos and how quickly they received them.

“I believe that Santos has made a major impact on the crime in Bridgeport. He’s already tracked a few subjects that ran from the police, he’s been able to sniff a few cars already and found some narcotics and I see him as a big asset for the police department,” said Bridgeport Police Chief Andrew Klotz. “I think the mayor and council supported us all the way but I think it was a lot more feasible with all the help from the businesses and residents.”

Full-time Bridgeport police officer Keven Yates serves as Santos’s handler.

“I think all of the donations were great and Santos is going to be a big benefit, not only to the police department but to the citizens of Bridgeport and the surrounding areas. We have helped Wheeling several times and they are not even in this state and they requested our dog,” said Yates. “He has done really well and I am real confident in his training and I’m confident in the trainer that trained us. I just want to thank all of the citizens and the village for their support.”

This is the first K-9 Unit the Bridgeport Police Department has ever had.

Klotz and Yates first went before council in September and asked for its blessing in pursuing a K-9 Unit.

Klotz planned on acquiring the K-9 unit through donations, police funds and help from council.

Through a power point presentation, Klotz and Yates laid out the benefits of having a K-9 unit in the department. According to Klotz, the Bridgeport Police Department was created in 1903 and there is no record of ever having a K-9 unit.

ODOT reported that there are 35,370 vehicles that travel Route 7 through Aetna Street.

“In a 24 hour period, just on our Marion Street Bridge, you can see there are 26,020 vehicles that have exited onto that bridge,” Klotz said. “Some 16,530 vehicles went through the US 250 interchange and over 20,000 vehicles have come off State Route 7 onto Lincoln Avenue. There is a lot of traffic coming through Bridgeport.”

According to Klotz, with the number of vehicles that travel through Bridgeport, a K-9 unit would help lessen the drug trafficking.

“Not only are dogs able to detect narcotics, but can also search and track. I’m sure everybody has known in the past few weeks, there has been a mass of break-ins of vehicles and we have also had a home invasion, not only that, we have had pursuits where people will take off on foot. Having this search and tracking dog will enable us to apprehend them.”

The K-9 unit would be a benefit to the village of Bridgeport not only through narcotic detection, but would help with the diffusion of potential threats and would help improve public relations.

“A K-9 can go places a human cannot,” Yates said.

It was in only a few months that the donations came in to support Klotz and Yates on their mission to get a dog. It was in November that they were able to introduce Santos to Bridgeport school at a pep rally.

Bill’s Towing, Interim Health Care and Lansing Sportsman Club were not the only donors. The additional donors include: Attorney Rebbeca Bench, Borkoski Funeral Home, Bridgeport Women’s Club, Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce, Bridgeport Rotary, Braden’s Towing, Bridgeport Auto Parts, Bridgeport Schools, Brookside Park Commission, Budget Interiors, Carol Lyle, D. William Davis, Attorney, Dairy Queen, Dick Riley, Dr. James Volk, Drs. Favede and Associates, Drs. Felipe and Sharon Lazo, Economy Car Sales, Ed Polli, ERB Electric, James Brubach, Jim West Coin and Hobby, JJC Excavating, John Gosney (Dekalb and Kennon), June Goodman, K and K Professional Kleaning, Kay’s Day Care, Loyal and Francine Springer, M.C. Thomas Insurance, Masonic Lodge, Myser and Davies, Rite Carpet, Robin Bursee, Sonny Boy Restaurant, Super Dave’s, The Nugget, Tom Wampler, Weaver’s Barber Shop, Zeakes Sunoco and Zeakes Sunshop. Non-monetary donations include: The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, Dr. Robert Carr and Progressive Communications.

Van Dyne can be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com.