An anonymous donation of $138,000 has allowed the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to purchase a second dog for its K-9 unit, plus some much-needed equipment.

The donation from a Washington County resident was made through a local foundation, said Sheriff Mike Robinson. His office also was able to buy a fully equipped Chevrolet Tahoe for the K-9 unit and Tasers for every deputy.

“We’re so appreciative of the support people have shown for our office when they make donations like this,” Robinson said. “It’s humbling. It really is.”

The donation allowed the K-9 unit to replace Panzer, a dog that was retired in November after eight years of service. His handler, Sgt. Jacob Hoffman, is training with a new dog, Ace.

Panzer was adopted by a family within the county and is now romping in the yard and “getting some well-deserved rest,” Robinson said.

The Sheriff’s Office recently purchased another dog, Champ, that will work with Deputy Justin Durrett. The new K-9 unit dogs are Belgian Malinois in the middle of a three-month training program with the Omaha Police Department.

Both dogs and their handlers should be on the streets in April, Robinson said. The sheriff estimated it cost between $18,000 and $20,000, including officer wages, to train the animals.

“The dogs are a fantastic tool, because we have a smaller force and sometimes have as few as three officers on the street,” Robinson said. “The dogs can do so much. They are available to protect their handlers, track missing juveniles and suspects and sniff out drugs.”

Having enough Tasers for all his officers is another benefit of the donation, the sheriff said..

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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