DANVILLE, Ind. — A central Indiana police department is relying on the public's help once again for its K-9 Unit.
The Danville Police Department is trying to raise thousands of dollars to replace their police dog named Zeke.
The public has helped in the past, and Zeke's handler is confident the community will come through again.
Danville Police K-9 Zeke teamed up with handler Sergeant Jeff Slayback in 2015 and has completed almost 500 deployments.
"Those deployments are helping to combat drugs in our community, find fleeing people that are wanted by the police, all kinds of stuff," Slayback said.
Slayback hopes to retire Zeke next month. So, he started a K-9 Campaign Fundraiser for Zeke's replacement because the public has come to Zeke's aid in the past in a big way.
"He has had some medical issues in the past," Slayback said. "The community was absolutely fantastic helping offset some of those medical bill costs."
Danville PD produced a "behind the scenes" YouTube video with Slayback explaining Zeke's credentials.
The video was also a good way to let the public see the success of the K-9.
The YouTube narration is done by Slayback himself.
"He is certified in what we call patrol work, which is tracking, apprehension, article searches, area searches if we are looking for someone who fled from us after committing a felonious crime. He is also certified in narcotics," Slayback said.
The $6,500 fundraiser goal will be added to a couple of grants landed by the police department. If the campaign is successful, Zeke's replacement will have some help on the streets in the Town of Danville.
"Actually, when we replace mine, we hope to add a second K-9," Slayback said.
Slayback is guessing having two police dogs could mean even more work for the K-9 unit. In 2020 alone, he and Zeke responded to about 70 runs, ranging in everything from random drug sweeps, to lost persons, to suspect searches.
"Hypothetically, in a three to four-year span, we could end up with 800 to 900 deployments," Slayback said.
Danville Police have the K-9 Campaign Fundraiser information on their Facebook page with ways you can donate, and they say no donation is too small.
They will also have the expenses of outfitting their new police vehicles scheduled to go in service this year. He is also concerned about being able to afford a bulletproof vest for his new K-9.
Slayback would like to have a new K-9 purchased by the middle of February.
He plans to keep Zeke as a family pet, so Zeke and his new K-9 will have to get to know each other.