Since mid-2017, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has been seeking opportunities to restore our once robust K-9 Program. In prior years (2009) the Sheriff’s Office had three (3) K-9 “deputies” with handlers. These K-9s operated as patrol force multipliers, were trained in arson/explosive detection, drug detection, and had the ability to track suspects and safely search buildings or open spaces for suspects in hiding. Over the years the program has dwindled. With the recent passing of “EX,” the last remaining K-9 with our agency, we are ready to go forward with securing another K-9 deputy for the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office. Sergeant Steve Lewis will remain as the K-9 Program Advisor.
We are very grateful for a local non-profit organization, The Klamath Dog Fanciers, which has graciously adopted the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program and provided significant start-up funds ($10,000) towards the initial purchase and training of our first replacement K-9. With their assistance, an additional grant was applied for and was received through the American Kennel Club (AKC) Reunite Program bringing an additional $5,000 making our available funds for start-up to $15,000. The average cost of a K-9 and the 6-week training of a handler is $16,000. This does not include the handlers travel, salary, or vehicle and equipment to safely lodge, transport, and maintain the K-9.
Due to continuing budget constraints, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office does not wish to use County General Fund dollars for our program and is seeking support from local citizens and businesses to help fund our campaign to restore the program to maximum effectiveness. This will best be achieved by restoring our K-9 Unit to the three (3) K-9’s previously available to support our work in patrol and in the protection of the community; but we need to start with the first one. We seek a goal of $30,000 this year in contributions and grants to sustain our program, and we are half-way there already thanks to the Klamath Dog Fanciers and the AKC Reunite Program.
It is difficult to describe the effectiveness of this resource and how helpful K-9’s can be to the important work our deputies do for all of us. As Sheriff, I am willing to meet with any group or individual interested in contributing to our goal of raising additional funding to purchase, train, and maintain as many K-9 deputies and handlers as possible.
A dedicated account has been established within the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office to receive and track contributions to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Program. If anyone wishes to contribute to the program or would like to have more information, please send contributions or requests to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Attn: K9 Program, 3300 Vandenberg Road, Klamath Falls, OR 97601.
Photo: Klamath Dog Fanciers presenting $10,000 check to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Program
Via press release from Klamath County Sheriff’s Office