The K-9 Unit is an important part of the Great Bend Police Department, and with the help of local donations its two police dogs are well fed.
A recent donation will cover the cost of a year’s supply of food for K-9 officers Kia and Lazer, Chief Cliff Couch said.
“Kia is a Belgian Malinois who has been the Department since 2013, and Lazer is a German Shepherd who joined the force in 2015,” Couch explained. The K-9s are the responsibility of GBPD Officers Joseph Johns and Shane Becker, who take the dogs home every day and provide their care and training.
“It is great to have these two dogs along with their handlers in Great Bend. They are an invaluable tool and they do so much for our community,” American Family Insurance agent Rhonda Knudson said. “These two do so much in the line of duty to help keep our streets safe along the officers that take care of these animals.”
The American Family agency and another Great Bend business — whose manager wishes to remain anonymous — have set up an account to cover the cost of dog food. Becker and Johns can pick up a bag of dog food whenever they need one.
“A lot of care goes into these two dogs,” Couch said.
“We provide a safe environment for them either while we are at home or working the streets of Great Bend,” Becker said. “Bathing, grooming, feeding the dogs and providing them with exercise is a daily routine. At home these dogs are treated as a working animal; they are kenneled outside or inside depending on weather. They do get breaks from the kennel throughout the day.”
When on duty, the officers and animals ride in specially equipped vehicles with sensors that keep track of the temperature. If it gets too hot, the back widows will automatically roll down and a fan will turn on to help cool the dog. The kennel inside of the vehicle has an air conditioning system for the dog that runs all the time.
The officers also carry a device that will alert them of the temperature in the vehicle. The device has a button on it that will open the door if the officer needs the assistance of the dog right away in an emergency situation.
“The systems on these vehicles are important to the dog and myself,” Johns said “If I am ever on a scene where I leave the dog in the vehicle, I know he is safe ... and if I need him in a emergency I just push a button and the doors opens and he will come and find me.”
Anyone who is interested in making a donation to the Great Bend K-9 Unit can call the Great Bend City Office, 620-793-4111.