Hampstead seeks $3,000 for K-9 unit State grant would cover 75% of police dog costs

June 14, 1998|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The Hampstead Police Department is about $3,000 short of the money it needs to establish a K-9 unit, officials said Friday.

Police Chief R. Kenneth Meekins said the department has applied for a state grant that would cover 75 percent of the expenses associated with establishing a K-9 unit.

The state grant would cover $28,722 of the $38,296 it would cost for the dog, training, veterinary care and a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

To qualify for the state funding, the police department has to raise the remaining $9,574.

To date, $6,450 has been collected from the Rotary Club of Hampstead, the Lions Club of Hampstead, the Shiloh Run Homeowners' Association, the towns of Hampstead and Manchester, and Joseph A. Banks Clothiers, police said.

"It's in everyone's best interests to get a dog up here," Meekins said. "We're the only municipality in the county that has a high school but no dog."

Westminster, Taneytown and Sykesville each have a K-9 unit.

"The dog's main function would be to seek and search for controlled dangerous substances, but we would cross-train the dog for crowd control," Meekins said.

He has written to homeowners associations and public service organizations seeking contributions.

Meekins' pleas for funds come amid community concern about increased heroin use in Carroll County, particularly among young people.

Three people have died of heroin overdoses this year, among them a 15-year-old Westminster High School student.

In many municipalities, K-9 units are used to search vehicles parked at schools. During the scans, dogs are walked around vehicles. If they detect narcotics, they alert officers.

Searches are conducted in the presence of students and school authorities.

Two such searches were canceled this year in Carroll County. Officials gave no reason for halting the drug scan program.

For information or to make a donation: 410-239-8954.

Pub Date: 6/14/98

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