01 June 2009

Washington Community Rallies To Save Police Dog's Job

A police dog that was laid off due to budge cuts now has this coastal town rallying behind him in the hopes he could be brought back out of retirement.

"Nitro" can fight crime, but he can't fight the ailing economy. His job was eliminated earlier this month when the Aberdeen Police Department needed to cut its budget.

"(He was) definitely part of the family," said Aberdeen K9 officer Steve Timmons, pictured above with Nitro. "It's tough seeing him not a work."

Six-year-old Nitro has helped nab between 35 and 40 suspects since he joined the force in 2005.

But unemployment is at 14 percent in Grays Harbor County. The Weyerhaeuser plant closing means fewer tax dollars for the city to operate the police department.

That forced Aberdeen's only police dog into early retirement.

"It's still rough for him, he still misses it," Timmons said. "When I go to work, he runs to the door like we're leaving and I have to leave him there. So it's tough."

After people saw the story on Seattle PI last week, there was an outpouring of support. We received an e-mail from one viewer saying: "I'm a member of the Peninsula Dog Fanciers Club of Bremerton. I saw the story about Nitro the other day and was deeply moved. My club would like to donate $500."

Money has been coming in from all over the Northwest. But the department needs around $6,000 to get Nitro his job back.

The police chief says the outpouring of public support may just do it.

"We're getting such a positive outcry that I think we're going to reach our goal to sustain Nitro from just the people that are wanting to support us," said police chief Bob Torgerson.

But it's not a done deal. The chief wants to make sure there's enough money to keep Nitro on the job through next year as well.

He doesn't want to have to go through the heartache of laying off this dog twice.

Donations to Nitro's fund can be made to the Aberdeen Police Department.. The chief hopes to make a decision next week.

[Source: SeattlePI.com]