It’s been more than seven months since Washington Township’s first designated K-9 Unit was removed from the force.
That removal was involuntary, however,
Without Cecere on the squad, there could be no Kobe.
But as time has gone on, one officer believes the department would still greatly benefit from having a K-9 Unit, and has taken the steps in making it happen.
With the approval from Chief Michael Bailey, Officer Mike Thompson is in the process of acquiring his own Belgium Malinois–the same breed as Kobe–with the hopes of properly training the pooch and bringing him into the Washington Township Police Department.
For Thompson, a member of the township police department since 2008, the prospect of owning and training a dog for police uses has always been an idea, but strengthened when Kobe came to the department.
“[Having a K-9] was something I was interested in,” Thompson said. “But it grew more when I was exposed to Kobe. It’s a great tool to have on the force.”
At this point, Thompson is awaiting the arrival of the dog, which will be trained at the same facility in Pennsylvania where Kobe was instructed. From there, the dog will undergo eight weeks of training, along with Thompson, to be most effective.
The dog has already been obedience trained, Thompson said.
Once a K-9 is trained under one owner, it’s unable to switch owners and take on the same capabilities, Thompson said. Hence the need for a new dog altogether, rather than trying to incorporate Kobe back onto the force.
After all training and testing is complete for both the dog and Thompson, the dog will be “road” ready near the end of April, 2013.
But with the new addition to the department comes a cost. Thompson, who will own the dog, is paying for some of the $12,000 expenditure from his own pocket, and likely won’t receive much help from the police department budget as it looks to keep costs flat.
Therefore, Thompson, through the Washington Township Police Benevolence Association, is seeking donations to help buffer some of the cost of bringing the fully trained dog into the department.
Residents interested in helping this cause can send or drop-off donations to the Washington Township Police Department, care of Washington Township PBA Local #301. The mailing address for the police department is 1 East Springtown Road, Long Valley, NJ 07853.