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 safely that night to his family. Dahlin knew the dangers he had faced that day, a single officer hampered by poor maneuverability and visibility in the bayou thicket. 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 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 and school district. These warrior dogs assist in narcotics, ammunition detection, patrol and arrests. Their senses are vastly more sensitive than their human partners, hearing and smelling danger far earlier. This can make the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, with K9 costs running between $15,000 and $25,000, K9s are often the first 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.
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.
Within six years, K9s4COPs has placed 147 K9s resulting in over $150,000,000 in contraband removed from the streets.
In addition to our tireless fundraising efforts through events like K9s UNLEASHED, Klays 4 K9s, and Brian Robison’s annual Reel ‘Em In Foundation, we also host the Texas K9 Officers Conference & Trails. K9s4COPs works to foster relationships between communities and corporations and their local law enforcement agencies. .
Our story has been shared with millions through such broadcasts as The Steve Harvey Show: Harvey’s Heros, 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 Magazine, one of the most read magazines in the country. 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.