The Freeport Police Department wants to bring back a crime fighting tool it retired seven years ago, it's K-9 program. But police have to first raise the money for it.
Freeport Police's last dog Kelo retired in 2007.
"Kelo in the past was great on drug detection, criminal apprehension as well as community care taking things with lost children, lost adults," says Lt. Matt Summers.
Freeport Police say finding drugs will be a major part of the unit. Right now, if they suspect someone is carrying drugs they can try to call in the Illinois State Police's K-9 unit. But if it's a traffic stop they can't hold the person if the state police's dog isn't available.
"The law won't allow us to wait if we have suspicion that there may be drugs in the car. We can't detain somebody longer than what is necessary to complete the traffic stop," says Lt. Summers.
Freeport police need to raise $55,000 to buy a new dog plus equipment. Their first donor was the Stephenson County State's Attorney's office. It gave $5,000. The office just tried a case where it saw how important a K-9 can be.
"A K-9 was brought into a house and found drugs that were very well concealed. It would have been very difficult to locate them without that dog. And also located other areas in the house where drugs weren't found but lead us to believe drugs may have been packaged there or otherwise used in that locations," says Carl Larson, Stephenson Co. Assistant State's Attorney.
The Freeport Community Foundation has a fund started to buy the police a canine. If you want to donate money you can send a check to 524 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, IL, 61032. Please specify the donation is for the Freeport Police Canine Fund. You can also call with questions to Daniel Schmitt at the Community Foundation at 815-801-3035. Or you can contact the Freeport Police Department and ask for Lt. Summers at 815-235-7949.