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Tigard Police to get second K-9, with help from public

Fundraiser hopes to raise $15,000 needed for new dog.

by: FILE PHOTO - Baxter, Tigard's only K-9, leaps from a Tigard patrol vehicle in 2010. The city's police department announced this week that it plans to add a second police dog to its roster.The Tigard Police Department and Tigard Breakfast Rotary club are teaming up to bring a second K-9 unit to the police force.

A fundraiser began this week to get a second police dog on board as soon as possible, said Assistant Police Chief Jim de Sully.

“We have been working out the details over the last few months,” said de Sully, who is also a member of the Breakfast Rotary. "This is the first significant public awareness progress we’ve made for people to find out about it.”

The police department currently has one K-9 unit, a 7-year-old German shepherd named Baxter and his handler, Officer Cameron Odam.

Baxter is a “patrol tracker,” de Sully said. He searches for suspected criminals when they flee a scene, checks buildings for people hiding, and assists other law enforcement jurisdictions when called.

“I can tell you from experience working on the street, if you are tracking a bad guy and you have a dog with you, it eases the tension across the board,” de Sully said.

The hope is to have a second dog on patrol by 2015, said Breakfast Rotary President Armin Konsten.

Baxter's career at Tigard has been successful. The canine has an impressive capture rate, averaging about 20 captures a year — that's on par with K-9s in much larger precincts, according to Jim Wolf, a spokesman for the department.

Donations are tax deductible and can be made to the Foundation of the Tigard Breakfast Rotary Club, P.O. Box 23425, Tigard, 97281, or dropped off at the Tigard Police Department, 13125 S.W. Hall Blvd.

“Baxter is probably one of the best dogs out there,” de Sully said. “He’s successful in his ability to get the job done, he is very well trained and a great match with his handler. They are a good team, so the ability to go do that again is great.”

Having two tracking dogs available would help the city and the community at large, de Sully said.

“We would have seven days-per-week coverage instead of four,” de Sully said. “This would greatly expand our abilities and resources.”Officer Cameron Odam and Baxter are currently Tigard's only K-9 unit, but the Tigard Breakfast Rotary hopes to raise $15,000 by 2015 to purchase a second dog for the city.

An expensive proposition

Buying a K-9 is expensive, de Sully said.

“We can’t just go to a local shelter and pick up a dog, as easy as that would be,” he said. “We actually go through a breeder and find a dog that is specifically trained to be a K-9, and that can be expensive.”

Between the dog, training and gear, de Sully estimates that it will cost about $15,000.

Tigard’s Breakfast Rotary has done several fundraising projects, but this is one of the largest fundraising campaigns the Rotary has attempted in recent years, Konsten said.

“Once people hear about the community need and the safety it will bring, people will buy in and get into it,” Konsten said. “I don’t think we’ll have any problems, but we need the publicity to get it done.”

Plans are in the works for a doggy dash 5K run in October at Cook Park in addition to other events, de Sully said.

“The Rotary is looking at some creative ideas to get the public involved,” he said. “We want to turn this into a community-wide event. If people find value in what we are doing, they can help chip in, plus it’s tax deductable.”

The Rotary will also partner with local businesses to raise the funds, said Konsten adding, “$15,000 is not that much, if you can get the business community involved.”

“This is truly a community project, and that is what Rotary is all about — to bring peace to the world,” he said.

Donations are tax deductible, Wolf said, and can be made to the Foundation of the Tigard Breakfast Rotary Club, P.O. Box 23425, Tigard, 97281, or dropped off at the Tigard Police Department, 13125 S.W. Hall Blvd.

Recent K-9 related stories

The Times went on a ridealong with the city's current K-9 team

Tualatin received its first K-9 officer

In April, a Sherwood officer filed a lawsuit against a California company after he was attacked by the city’s K-9.

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