EP receives gift for K-9 program

Morning Journal/Katie White Local businessman Tom Brittain presented the East Palestine Police Department with a $4,000 donation from his company, Brittain Motors Chevrolet, for the department’s K-9 program. Lt. Don Johnson and K-9 Toney accepted the donation on the department’s behalf.

EAST PALESTINE — More money has come in for the East Palestine Police Department’s K-9 program, and additional fundraisers are planned.

The department recently received a $4,000 donation from Brittain Motors Chevrolet in town, which is owned by Tom Brittain. It marks the second significant donation from the business toward the program.

Brittain also donated $6,000 to the program through Brittain Motors in January of 2017. The money is geared toward the purchase of another K-9 once K-9 Toney retires.

The village was able to acquire Toney, a female Belgian Malinois, in September of 2012 after raising enough in community funding for her purchase and necessary training. She is the first K-9 unit for the department.

Once on the force she joined Lt. Don Johnson, who is her handler, and the funding also went toward his training with her as well.

Toney will turn eight years old in July and Johnson said the department is planning for her retirement, although the energetic healthy K-9 officer could still have a few more years on the force.

“She is still going strong. She is not seeming to slow down. Right now we are just planning for the future,” Johnson said.

Since joining the force, Toney has assisted the department with combating the local drug problem through the tracking of narcotics and criminals.

She has also assisted in tracking lost children and lost elderly individuals.

“I believe in the program,” Brittain said. “Toney has done a great job. She has certainly helped our community and our police, not only in East Palestine, but throughout the area.”

In addition to serving the department, K-9 Toney is also made available upon request by other neighboring departments when there is a need.

“I’m just glad I can do it to serve the community. We appreciate our local customers who made it possible,” Brittain said of the donation.

In addition, Johnson said three fundraisers are planned through the East Palestine Patrolman’s Association. They are a T-shirt sale, a gun raffle and a pasta dinner.

The T-shirts are $20 and tickets for the gun raffle hosted by Kellner Range and Supply of Columbiana are $10. Guns to be raffled are a Glock, a .450 Bushmaster Ruger Rifle and a .223/.556 AR-15.

Johnson said 500 tickets are available and the drawing will be held after tickets are sold.

The pasta dinner will be from 1-5 p.m. April 7 at the East Palestine Elementary School.

The department also has a few more “Toney Tags” left that can be purchased at the police station for $5 a piece. The tags are military style dog tags with Toney’s name on them.

Johnson said that in addition to funding a new K-9 in the future, money raised will also go toward the cost of necessary training and equipment.

“The equipment is very expensive. We are going to need a new vehicle in the very near future,” he said.

He explained that the vehicles must run constantly in order to keep K-9 units cool in the summertime and warm in the winter. Because of that, and with the required kennel in the back and necessary heat alarm, he said a K-9 cruiser can run around $35,000.

“It has been a fantastic program and we want to keep it going years down the road,” Johnson said.