The Arroyo Grande Police Department is looking to add another K-9 officer to it roster and is turning to a popular fundraising website to ask the public for help.
The department started an online crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to raise $30,000 to purchase the dog, a male German shepherd named Tig.
"Neither our department nor our city government have these funds available," a statement from the department on the GoFundMe campaign webpage said. "So, as in the past, our success will depend entirely on contributions from those who want to be a part of keeping Arroyo Grande safe."
According to Arroyo Grande K-9 police officer Jeff Corrall, the department decided to acquire Tig after one of its two longtime K-9s, a male German shepherd named Gregor, was medically retired from duty last year after six years of service. If the fundraising campaign is successful, Tig will join the department's remaining K-9, Daghan. Corrall said Tig would be trained for common K-9 duties such as protection; searching buildings; and helping find evidence, suspects, and missing persons. In addition, Corrall said he hopes to have Tig specialize in the more rare skill of bomb detection.
"There are very few bomb detection dogs in California," Corrall said. "He's going to be pretty active."
Corrall said the money will not only pay for purchasing and training Tig, but will also cover the dog's medical fees, food, and ongoing support and maintenance. The GoFundMe campaign began in January, and has raised $4,200 so far.
"It's been wonderful. We've had great support from the community," Corrall said. "We've even gotten support from outside [Arroyo Grande] and even outside the state."
Arroyo Grande isn't the only police department to turn to online fundraising to help itself acquire a K-9. According to the GoFundMe website, police departments in Clinton, Conn.; Pawnee, Okla.; Hanford and Arcata, Calif.; and several other American cities, are also using the site to raise money to start or expand their K-9 programs.