Westport police sets up GoFundMe to support K-9 unit that relies solely on public donations
Westport police are asking for the public's help to continue a very important program - its K-9 unit.
Westport Police Cpl. David Scinto has been with his best buddy, Atlas, for nine years now.
"He's a family member. I joke I spend more time with my dog than anybody else on this planet. Whether he's in the car or at home, we're a foot away from each other almost 24 hours a day," said Scinto.
Atlas is just one of the four dogs with the Westport Police Department's K-9 unit.
"It's been a great tool for us. When you need that one specialty tool it's nice to have a highly trained dog ready to go," said Corporal Jim Loomer, with the Westport Police Department.
But this unit is not funded by the police department, it relies solely on public donations.
A GoFundMe has been set up to equip two K-9 cars, and the cost of replacing Atlas, who retires later this year.
"You have an opportunity to invest and to brag about the fact that you are part of our project here and our unit and anybody that does make sure you flag us down. If you see us, we'd love to thank you," says Loomer.
"It's pretty important. So, it’s one thing to have a K-9 unit on paper, but to have a well-funded, well-trained K-9 unit it makes a world of difference," said Scinto.
These dogs help to pinpoint illegal drugs and find missing persons.
Scinto says Atlas has been a true lifesaver.
"He's been absolutely instrumental in some of the cases we've had protecting me, protecting our guys," said Scinto.
The GoFundMe is hoping to raise $58,000 and has reached almost half its goal already.