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[whitespace] Story inspires local couple to donate for new K-9 unit

Los Gatos--Thanks to a $20,000 donation from a Los Gatos couple, the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department is purchasing a second canine unit. The couple, Steve and Jeanne Lyon, donated the money after they read about Quarz, the LG-MSPD canine, the cover story in the Nov. 15 issue of the Los Gatos Weekly-Times.

The Lyons donated the money to the Los Gatos Police Foundation, Jeanne Lyon said, because they believe that citizens have the responsibility to support law enforcement and that a second dog would provide more safety to both officers and the public.

"We think it's great," LG-MSPD Capt. Alana Forrest said. "It's amazing that anyone would come in and give that much money to a police department for anything. We're very indebted to them."

Police Chief Larry Todd had been discussing the idea of another dog with the staff, and then everything came together, Forrest said. At the Oct. 16 town council meeting, the council had expressed the desire to use $10,325 from a local law enforcement block grant to purchase a canine, but the grant money was not enough.

In addition to buying a dog from the Witmer-Tyson Kennel, the department would have to spend money on equipment, including leashes, collars, food and veterinary bills, training and a new patrol vehicle. The Lyons' donation, plus $5,000 worth of video equipment donated by the Association of Bay Area Governments to be used in the new patrol car, made the purchase of a second canine possible. The department will also purchase the dog and car with $1,147 in matching funds and $14,028 in equipment replacement funds.

The new canine will assist Quarz in general and drug detection searches and apprehension of criminals. The LG-MSPD canine program has proven successful, the Dec. 18 council agenda report said, in that canines can locate criminal suspects, and lost and injured persons more effectively than any other tool available to officers.

Two canines would cover eight 10-hour shift days, instead of the four 10-hour shift days one dog puts in now, the report said. Also, when a critical incident occurs and neither canine is on duty, there is a better chance that a canine and the officer the canine is paired with will be available to work overtime.

LG-MSPD officers have already applied to be paired with the new canine. This month, the department officials and Witmer-Tyson will interview them and select the one with the best temperament and ability to handle a dog. Then the department and kennel will select a dog that has certain skills and a personality that matches the officer's, Todd said. Once the department buys the canine from Witmer-Tyson, the dog and officer will undergo several weeks of training.
Rebecca Ray

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