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Stroud Area Police Raising Cash to Bring Back K-9 Unit

EAST STROUDSBURG -- Stroud Area Regional Police Department wants to add more officers -- four-legged officers, that is.

The department has been without a K-9 unit for five years and the hope is to bring it back.

"Functionally, K-9 units are an excellent, excellent resource for law enforcement," said Stroud Area Regional Police Chief John Ward.

Chief Ward wants the department to get two dogs, but between equipment and training, they are looking at a cost of more than $100,000.

A community fundraiser has been set up to help pay some of the costs.

The chief feels the extra paws will help combat some major issues.

"We are facing problems with drugs, as is every other community in our nation. Dogs, their sense of smell is like 600 times greater than ours, so when it comes to drugs and getting drugs off the streets, they are an incredible tool."

Right now, officers have to wait about an hour for another department to bring a K-9 to an active scene.

Patrol Officer Robert Breitfeller, who will handle one of the dogs, says waiting can waste vital time.

"You need that K-9, maybe in 10 or 15 minutes, or when you have that vehicle stopped and a short period of time to detain the person, so it's an obstacle and this is huge for our department," said Officer Breitfeller.

Community members are going to see a lot of changes at the police department. Officers are hoping to bring the K-9 unit back but they are also hoping to bring the bike unit back."

"You will be seeing the bicycles out on the road and ideally I'd like to have six officers trained," said the chief.

The bikes will hit the road come spring and the hope is to have at least one K-9 in place by then, too.

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