Police dogs (K-9) have become vital members of law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Trained dogs are used for a variety of assignments, including searching for bombs, drugs and even people. Training and maintaining a police dog is not cheap, with the average cost of buying a fully trained police dog $5,000 to $8,000. Cash-strapped police departments often look toward grants for help in buying and maintaining a K-9 dog.
Edward Byrne grants are awarded annually by the U.S. Department of Justice for a variety of law enforcement needs, including the purchase and maintaining of K-9 police dogs with a special emphasis on using dogs for the war on drugs. The grant is named after the young New York City police officer who was killed by drug dealers while on duty in 1988.
The National Explosives Detection Canine Program provides funding to train dogs to identify explosives in major public areas such as transportation hubs, including train stations, airport passenger terminals and bus depots. The funding pays for the training of a dog and a handler and is facilitated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Dogs vs. Crime
Dogs Against Drugs/Dogs Against Crime is a national, not for profit K-9 organization that recognizes the need for dogs to help state and local police departments combat chiefly drug crimes. The group donates trained dogs to departments in need, and also provides training and education programs for law enforcement to create or improve their K-9 programs.
National Association of Chiefs of Police
The National Association of Chiefs of Police has given nearly $370,000 to 39 police departments in 18 states throughout the U.S. to purchase K-9 police dogs. Grants have been as low as $4,500 and as high as $10,000. The NACOP also helps with other costs required to maintain the dogs, including training and supplies.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Signed into law in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides up to $4 billion for state and local law enforcement. Funding is available for applications for K-9 dogs and other canine training and education programs as required by law enforcement agencies involved in investigating and prosecuting drug and terrorism crimes. More than half the funding is administered by the Office of Justice Programs.
Matt Birkbeck is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including Reader's Digest, Boston Magazine and People. He is the author of several books, including A Beautiful Child and A Deadly Secret, and co-author of Till Death Do Us Part.