September 26, 2013THE GROSSE POINTES AND HARPER WOODS — A second police dog is on the prowl.
The dog and its handler, funded with $2,400 start-up costs donated by K-9 Safety Partners of the Grosse Pointes, are members of the Harper Woods police department, which is part of the Grosse Pointe mutual aid pact.
Harper Woods’ dog, a German shepherd, is available to the Pointes just as the City of Grosse Pointe’s K-9, Raleigh, of the same breed, is deployed to Harper Woods on mutual aid requests.
Members of the partners and Raleigh hosted the new dog’s debut last week at Village Fest.
“I’m surprised how pet-like they are,” said John Stevens, Partners founder from the City of Grosse Pointe. “Kids cuddled up to them.”
Appearances can be deceiving. “If the commander says ‘bite,’ the thing bites,” Stevens said.
The partners were created to assist the Pointes and Harper Woods maintain or establish K-9 operations.
“We’re waiting for cities to make applications to us for funding,” said James Fox, retired City of Grosse Pointe public safety director. “We’ll do what we can to provide them with that.”
“The City’s dog is going to be retiring soon,” said Greg Theokas, Grosse Pointe Park mayor pro tem. “A police dog is like a community pet, but it has a real function.”
“Besides being a great public relations tool, it’s a strong deterrent to crime in our neighborhoods,” Fox said.
“It sets a mood when you have a couple dogs,” Stevens said. “It keeps people at bay a little. It sends a sense of safety. You feel protected.”
Raleigh routinely sniffs out drugs and fleeing criminal suspects.
“It’s good to get our police on the streets more, and this is a way to do that,” Theokas said. “People like to see that. They have a sense that police are on the street looking out for problems.”
The partners, a tax exempt organization, want to raise more than start-up funds.
“We hope to raise enough money to maintain the K-9s, too,” Fox said. “It will be the city’s responsibility to pay for overtime on the dog. We’re trying to ease their burden by providing some of the funding they need to get the K-9s.”