My Mission — Making Things Matter
It was just another day at work for K9 Blek, a Czech-German shepherd. The K9 had scented three robbery suspects in a densely wooded area and gave pursuit. But on this day, K9 Blek gave his life attempting to apprehend the suspects.
Blek’s partner Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin went home to his family that night. Dahlen knew the dangers he faced that day — a single officer hampered by poor maneuverability and visibility in the bayou thicket. He knew he owed his life to the actions of his K9.
When I learned of their story on the local nightly news — and heard that the department couldn’t afford to replace the heroic K9 — I knew I had to make K9 Blek’s life matter. I knew I had to help other officers like Ted Dahlin go home to their families at night.
K9s are highly valuable assets to any law enforcement agency. These warrior dogs assist in narcotics and munitions detection, patrol and arrests. Their senses are vastly more sensitive than their human partners — they hear and smell danger far earlier, which can make the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, with purchase costs running between $10,000 and $15,000, K9s are often the first weapons to fall to budget cuts.
In June 2010, I founded K9s4COPs to fund the donation of trained K9s to law enforcement agencies around the country. Less than a month after achieving our 501 (c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt status, we donated our first four K9s to the Harris County Sheriff’s Department on April 5, 2011.
In just three short years, K9s4COPs has placed 60 K9s with 33 agencies from 17 states.
K9s4COPs donated K9s are making it matter. They have removed more than $50 million in narcotics and cash and more than 100 firearms from the streets. They are responsible for more the 650 arrests. And that’s in barely over three years.
Spurred by the success of these donated K9s, I launched the K9s4KIDs initiative in the fall of 2013. If K9s could keep our communities and law enforcement officers safe, I knew they would do the same for our children.
My daughter, Sinclair, was the same age as the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. Having watched our personal protection K9s interact with my daughter and her friends, I knew K9s on campus would be a kinder, gentler alternative to other means of campus security.
To date, five schools from Texas to New York have received K9s through the K9s4KIDs initiative.
Our work is far from over. Approaching the fall of 2014, we have more than 85 applicants from 27 states that are in need of K9s.
In addition to our tireless fundraising efforts through events like K9s UNLEASHED, our annual fundraiser in Houston each October, K9s4COPs works to foster relationships between communities and corporations and their local law enforcement agencies. We host the Texas K9 Officers Conference & Trails in October and participate in many events to raise awareness for the great works achieved by our K9s officers and their handlers.
Our story has been shared with millions through such broadcasts The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on the Fox News Channel and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. We’ve been featured in countless articles from trade publications like K-9 Cop Magazine to People, one of the most read magazines in the country. Like a dog barking at the door wanting to be let in, we have demanded attention for our mission and these great K9s. We’ve even taken a New Year’s Day stroll down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, for the Tournament of Roses Parade with a 28-foot high floral K9 to raise awareness, share our story, and hopefully encourage others to do the same.