Herrin Police Chief Quinn Laird says his is one of the bigger police departments in southern Illinois, but it has never had a police dog. He’s working to change that.
"We are one of the larger departments in the area that doesn't have a dog," says Laird. Instead of asking for the money from taxpayers, Laird and others in the community are finding fun ways to raise the money.
"I think people really see and understand the need for this," Laird said. They’ve already started the fundraising, and Quinn says they’re seeing an overwhelming show of support for this from the community.
Fundraising committee members are out at the bocce fields where Centerstone is holding its annual fundraising tournament for client services. The popular tournament has been a community staple for 16 years and people in the area love their bocce. Community members are checking on the tournament so they'll know what to expect when they host their own bocce tournament next month.
"Centerstone does a wonderful job with their tournament out here every year. It's the 16th year of it. And this is what we're trying to build for the K9 fundraiser," said Kevin Frost, a fundraising committee member. He says there’s a lot of excitement around the community for a police dog, but also bocce. The town’s court is in use constantly for fundraisers.
Kim Babington is playing for the SIU Credit Union team at the Centerstone tournament. She says she loves coming out and playing for fun.
"We love playing this game and having fun with everybody, and look at all the people here having all this fun," Babington said.
The Herrin Police Department will need $30,000 to $40,000 to get the police K9 program started, and they’ll start with just one dog. But Laird doesn’t think it will take too long to find the money. But finding the dog a partner?
"Actually, I have several officers interested in that," he said. He says if all goes well, they plan on having the pup patrolling Herrin streets by spring.
Herrin’s bocce bash to raise money for a police K9 will be on Oct. 29. It’s limited to 24 teams, so early sign up is encouraged.
For more information on the bocce bash, visit the website.
To donate to the K9 fund, you can make checks out to "City of Herrin Canine Fund," and drop them off at the police station.
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