FRANKLIN — The new cop in town is a 16-month-old German shepherd named Max.
K9 officer Max was officially assigned to the city’s police department by the New Hampshire Police K9 Academy in Portsmouth.
City law enforcement officers have not had a police dog in recent history, said City Manager Elizabeth Dragon.
The department had been waiting in line for a police dog for about a month, police said. Officers have been visiting the K9 academy each week, watching and waiting for their new dog, she said.
Late last month, Max was assigned to Franklin and was partnered with Officer Adam Donnelly.
Police Chief David Goldstein is pleased to add Max to the force.
“The addition of a K9 unit to the Franklin Police Department is a very positive move,” Goldstein said. “Most criminals would rather submit to arrest than to risk being taken down or bitten by a police K9. Having a K9 present helps lessen aggression levels, keeping situations from escalating and protecting our officers from harm.”
Police dogs training at the academy are taught in teams, focusing on agility, contraband detection, suspect tracking and in tracking items that may have been dropped by suspects during chases and apprehensions.
The K9 unit will work closely with the department’s student resource officer and with officers and volunteers coordinating DARE program enforcement and education work. Police hope that Donnelly and Max will help prevent drugs from coming on to school campuses.
Bringing Max to Franklin took a community effort, Dragon said, and was made possible by a combination of fundraising, donations and grants.
The Mayor’s Drug Task Force raised more than $4,000 by hosting a retirement event for Councilor Bob Sharon, which also brought a sizable donation from Hope Community Chapel. Sharon was an original member of the Franklin Mayor’s Drug Task Force. The funds were raised and donated in Sharon’s honor.
Also, a raffle for an iPad Air by the task force raised another $2,000 for the K9 unit, and the Working Dog Foundation provided a $7,000 grant, among many donations and grants. Dr. Barry Taylor of the Franklin Veterinary Clinic has pledged full support for routine and emergency care of Max, “another key component to making this project happen,” Dragon said.
The Mayor’s Drug Task Force will continue to raise funds for the K9 program. There will be an annual “Bow-Wow Ball” and additional grant dollars are also being sought.
Members of the community are invited to the next open meeting of the Franklin Mayor’s Drug Task Force to meet Max and Donnelly. The meeting will be held on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Franklin Opera House.Max and Donnelly will work some night shifts together, Dragon said.
They will also continue to attend trainings at the K9 academy every Monday.