It’s been over a year since the Desloge Police Department lost Bak, a four-legged member of their staff who served with the Desloge Police Department for two years.
One of the officers took it into his own hands to raise money for another K-9. Desloge Police Officer Brad Judge said the department didn’t have the funding in their budget to purchase another one.
“This is a job that I have been doing for a long time and I love doing it,” said Judge. “Having a K-9 is an awesome tool for not just me, but to the department and the county as a whole. I know right now there is only one working dog in the county and that is in Farmington. Right now if we end up needing a dog, we have to call Farmington to have their dog come down and help us so I figured if I could get this dog, then it would give us two for the county. There would be one on the south end of the county and one on the north end. It was a big motivation for me to do this because it would help others too.”
Judge added that the last K-9 they had passed away and he knows the heroin and drug problems are getting worse, so there is a definite need for a K-9. The bids that he has gotten for a new K-9 have been between $10,500 and $15,500. The school is six weeks long and the money has to be raised on his own. The department can’t do anything that is not budgeted, so they can’t have anything to do with the K-9. Due to that he has had to raise everything on his own.
“This past year we have done a barbecue with a poker run and an auction in honor of one of my friends, Mike Cross, we have done a shotgun auction and a raffle for a book of scratch-off tickets,” said Judge. “The biggest one was the barbecue we held this time last year that C-Barn sponsored and Marler’s Towing is sponsoring the one this year.”
There will be a Benefit Car Show and BBQ on June 13 at the Desloge TitleMax from 9 a.m. Registration will run from 9 a.m. to noon and judging will start at 2 p.m. with awards given at 3 p.m. The entry fee is $15 and all classes of stock cars, modified cars, stock and modified trucks, four by four trucks and motorcycles are welcome to enter.
They will be serving pork steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs and sides. They are offering local deliveries in addition to walk-up service. All of the proceeds raised will benefit the Desloge K-9 unit.
Judge said he has raised roughly $7,000 so far, so if he goes with the lower end bid he is about $3,500 from his goal. The K-9 will come trained and the six-week school is to train the officer on how to handle the dog. There is an introduction period between the dog and himself so they can get used to each other.
“Once I go out there they will pick a dog to my temperament and they will try to get a dog that matches me,” said Judge. “They will spend the six weeks getting us introduced and then teaching me how to handle the dog with tracking people and searching for drugs. When I get the dog, he or she will be living with me and it will basically be my partner. When I’m out and about the dog will be with me.”
He added that once he gets the dog and it’s with him, everything he does after that is totally on him because the city can’t fund it. Judge is sure he’ll do some raffles and stuff throughout the year or a poker run to try and keep up with the maintenance and the vet bills.
“We had someone with the last dog donate food and that was a big help,” said Judge. “This will be a new experience for me since I have never had a working dog before and I’m pretty excited about it. I have been an officer for 21 years and this has really revived me a little bit to get me going.
“It is a really good cause and hopefully people jump on board with it. It’s unbelievable how much this costs, once I started looking into it I felt like I was in over my head. I had never really done and fundraising and it was overwhelming. We have gotten really good support along way and we are almost there.”
There is a K-9 fund set up at Unico Bank in Desloge called “Desloge Police K-9 Fund” for those who would like to make a donation to the cause. For more information or to make a donation contact Brad Judge at 314-550-8026 and for more information on the Benefit Car Show and BBQ or for local deliveries contact Mark Werley at 573-631-8707.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org