Police officers have one of the toughest jobs out there, and sometimes we as a community overlook all of their incredible assistance and wonderful new ideas. Our police officers do everything to help us, from protecting our cities from crime and risking their lives, to helping older women cross the street or dropping by for children’s birthday parties. No act of community kindness is too risky or mundane for them.
However, in many communities, there is an overall funding shortage in police departments, which has made it difficult for some cities to continue training dogs to both protect and assist officers while on duty. However, one police department in North Carolina responded to this crisis with a new idea: saving pit bulls and training them for police work so that their officers could continue to receive beneficial protective assistance from police dogs, while also saving the lives of those dogs.
Police dogs are typically specially trained for police departments and must be bought by those departments, making them very costly assets. With recent budget cuts pressuring many police departments, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the officers to continue to afford these types of dogs.
In response to this, and to make sure that their officers still receive the protection and help that the usual canine unit offers daily, a sheriff’s office in North Carolina decided to rescue pit bulls and train them to be used by cops. This strategy helps the department both with saving money and saves the lives of the dogs they train.
Two pit bulls were adopted by the sheriff’s office, named K-9 Sarah and K-9 Phantom. The dogs were provided to the police through a grant from The Animal Farm of New York and Universal K9 from San Antonio, Texas. Together with these companies, the sheriff’s office is seeking to prove that police departments do not need to purchase specially trained $15,000 German Shepherds to assist with drug seizures and police protection. The goal of this program is to demonstrate that dogs that could have otherwise been euthanized can have another opportunity in life to protect and serve; to not only be saved, but to be put to good use in their local communities.
On their Facebook, the Clay County, NC police department stated about their dogs: “They want to show the country and the world the loving and caring nature that most of us have experienced with our Pitbulls and show that the pound puppies have what it takes to go up against and sometimes exceed their expensive pure breed cousins.”
The hope of the two companies and the sheriff’s office is to dispel the myth about the police force needing to buy specially trained German Shepherds to work alongside them, saving already budget-stretched police departments massive amounts of money each year.
The Clay County, NC police department stated on their Facebook, “What will be the most shocking to some will not be that Clay County Sheriffs have the new K-9 Deputies, but rather their breed. Even though pit bulls get a bad rap in the media, they aren’t all bad dogs and can do great things for the communities they serve.”
With such benevolent intentions, and a plan that assists not only police departments but also saves the lives of misunderstood dogs that deserve a second chance in life, this North Carolina sheriff’s department will hopefully pave the way to getting other police departments to undertake similar initiatives.