Spencer department works toward K-9 presence
Sportsman Club makes major donation
By Kris Leonhardt
SPENCER—The Spencer Police Department has initiated a community fundraising campaign that will help provide for the introduction of a K-9 unit within the village.
“Right now we are fundraising for a K-9,” said Spencer Patrol Officer Mindy Stellmach. “Spencer has never had a K-9 or a K-9 unit in the village, so we are trying to start up our first one.”
Stellmach said the funds for the program will primarily come through donations, from businesses, the community, and organizations.
“We will need to raise about $45,000 to get everything started, that’s including the K-9, all of the training for the K-9, and a brand new squad car equipped with all of the (equipment) for the K-9,” Stellmach added.
“It has been an idea since I started here five years ago, but recently we started crunching numbers and seeing what we really need to do to get this going. For the last three or four months we’ve been really hitting it hard.
“We are about $12,000 in so far, so we have a ways to go. I am hopeful for the future.”
Stellmach said that the Spencer department sees a lot of drug activity, especially around the State Hwy 13 corridor. Which they encounter primarily through traffic stops.
“There is an opioid epidemic everywhere really – opioids and dangerous drugs are making a comeback, I guess,” Stellmach explained. “It is getting hard for any department, let alone a department our size, to combat the amount of drugs coming in and through and just around us in general.
“(That is why) a K-9 would be really helpful. Right now we have to rely on outside agencies to use their K-9, which can be tough sometimes with the time restrictions. That’s why we are hoping to get our own, so we can have it ready and available when we need it.”
Stellmach said that the K-9 would be used to alert for drug presence, aid in apprehending suspects, clearing buildings, and track missing individuals, once enough funds have been raised to obtain the dog and needed equipment.
“Right now, we are working on a four-man golf scramble…and hopefully a couple of other events with the help of community members,” Stellmach said.
“The one-time $45,000, that will get us our squad car, the dog, and the training. From what I hear, donations will cover the dog food – donations from dog food companies. Vet bills will hopefully be discounted or donated. Then, we have a couple of other services that we are going to provide for the community just to bring a little income, so we will be able to maintain the K-9 program once the initial $45,000 is raised.”
The department recently received a sizable donation from the newly formed Spencer Sportsman Club.
“Our banquet is every February of every year, and we donate to several different things in the community,” said Scott Pokallus, vice president of the Spencer Sportsman Club.
Hearing that the Spencer Police Department had been working toward obtaining a K-9 dog, the group invited the department to attend their annual banquet, where they sold raffle tickets for a gun to earn needed funds.
“I do believe they made (around) $800 that night on the raffle,” Pokallus recalled. “Then, we decided as a group to donate more to it, so we all came up with a number of $6,000.”
Previous donations by the club have included the Spencer school system, Spencer Kids Group, Spencer scholarship program, Rock Creek Disabled Outdoors, Spencer American Legion, Same Difference Disabled Hunt, LuCille Tack Center, youth shoots, and hunter safety programs.
The Spencer Sportsman Club is a small group of individuals with a goal to open a shooting range in the Spencer area.
To donate to the K-9 program, contact the Spencer Police Department.