Rose Parade Float Celebrates Police K9 Charity
|Sgt. Mike Thomas says his police dog Tamra and 15 other police dogs donated to his Harris County Police Department in Texas by K9s4COPs has made a huge difference in combating rampant drug trafficking in the Houston area and keeping officers safe.|
“Before we got these dogs we had only 8 dogs to patrol the Houston area, which has become a hub of drug activity and transport nationwide,’’ says Sgt. Mike Thomas, who will ride atop the K9s4COPs float with his donated police dog Tamra. “With so few dogs, we were stretched too thin. It was like trying to spread a teaspoon of peanut butter across a slice of bread.’’
“In the past year just one of these dogs confiscated $6 million worth of drugs, and it cost us $10,000 to donate that trained dog,’’ Schiller says. “You do the math. Then multiply that by 16, the number of dogs we have donated in the Houston area alone, and you can imagine what a major impact that is having, and trained dogs are needed across the United States, and in countries around the world, from detecting explosives to protecting our children in schools.’’
In just over two years the foundation has donated more than 65 K9s to 23 police agencies in nine states. The dogs are specifically trained to assist law enforcement in their work and cost $10,000 to $15,000, which the foundation raises through donations.
K9s4COPs dedicates its inaugural Rose Parade float to the heroic law enforcement K9 Units across America and to the men and women who serve and protect our community. Sitting atop a bed of roses is a larger-than-life K9 that resembles the organization’s mascot a King Shepherd, Johnny Cash. Founder Kristi Schiller, her husband John and daughter Sinclair will be joined by selected officers and deputies with their K9s by their side, representing K9s that have been donated by the organization.
Police dogs are in widespread use a variety of duties, including drug, explosives, and weapon detection and missing person searches. In many jurisdictions police dogs are full-fledged police officers, often with their own badges.
“In our part of the country many officers ride alone, rather than with a partner, so having a K9 partner gives a police officer an extra measure of security,’’ says Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin. “An officer’s family knows he or she has a better chance of coming home safely with that dog by his side.’’