The Kent Police Department will be receiving a grant from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund to purchase safety and training equipment for its two-dog K-9 team.
During the 2019 NFL season, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is distributing grants to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers, and invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.
The foundation will also distribute several grants to the Pittsburgh area.
The grant award to KPD was announced following the Steelers’ Dec. 22 matchup against the New York Jets.
This is the 13th season Roethlisberger has distributed the grants, fulfilling his mission to support K-9 units of police and fire departments throughout the United States, with a particular emphasis on support for working dogs in Pittsburgh.
“The Town of Kent Police K-9 Unit is humbled by the generous grant for equipment from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation,” said Sgt. Alex VanderWoude. “We are a small department and are consistently looking for ways to better serve our community without placing a larger tax burden on our residents.
He said the department’s two dogs are a vital part of KPD.
“In the last several years they have tracked both endangered persons and criminal suspects, located evidence, conducted countless demos for community and school programs, and have assisted our officers and surrounding departments with taking dangerous narcotics off the street,” said VanderWoude. “This grant will allow the unit to train more efficiently and also create a safer operational environment for our two K-9s and their handlers.”
According to KPD, the grant will cover two pieces of equipment for the K-9 unit – one will assist with narcotics detection training and the other will help to create a safer operational environment for the dogs and their handlers while they are searching for missing persons or fleeing suspects.
The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation distributed more than $145,000 in grants to K-9 units around the country during the 2018 NFL season, including $70,000 in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. It has distributed in excess of $2.1 million since 2007 – $1.7 million of which has specifically benefited K-9 programs domestically.
For more information about the foundation, or The Giving Back Fund, visit www.givingback.org.