PLAISTOW — Police Sgt. Alec Porter can remember when he sent his partner in harm’s way without body armor. It troubled him, he said, but he had no choice. His suspect was getting away.
“That’s what the dog’s there for,” Porter said, “but you don’t want to lose them.”
His partner, Kraken, is a Dutch-bred German shepherd trained to track suspects, sniff out drugs and bombs, and get into places where police officers often can’t.
So, it’s no surprise when police demand the same protection and respect for their K-9 counterparts as they get themselves. But when the public agrees and responds, it’s something else altogether.
In June, the department started raising money for two efforts benefiting the town’s police dogs: to buy Kraken a new set of body armor and to erect a memorial in front of the Public Safety Complex honoring Plaistow’s previous and future K-9s.
They needed $8,000 to cover both efforts, but didn’t want either of them to come at taxpayer expense. After the donation drive ended last week, they won’t.
“People were quick with the donations, they were very generous with the donations, and we were thrilled that we were able to move forward with the project that much faster,” Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones said.
The money was raised through donation cans set up in Plaistow businesses and donations from people who heard the department’s call for support, Jones said.
The contributions included profits from a lemonade stand that 11-year-old Carolynn Kennedy, Allie Ward, 10, and Jessie Ward, 13, operated at the end of the summer.
The largest contribution came from a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant on the corner of Plaistow and East roads. That donation was $2,500.
Two years ago, the doughnut shop was responsible for donating $7,000 to cover the cost to purchase Kraken, to train him and more, Porter said.