PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Putnam County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit has two new pure-bred German shepherds along with two new vehicles, thanks to a donation from a Patterson family, said Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith.
Joseph Stilwell and Monika Stilwell also paid to have the dogs—a male named “Lex” and a male named “Kato”—flown from Holland to the U.S., along with an obedience trainer, said Capt. William McNamara.
The Stilwells’ donation also included monies used for the training of the dogs and their handlers in narcotics detection, tracking and patrol.
Lex is assigned to Deputy Sheriff Vincent Dalo, and Kato’s partner is Deputy Sheriff Christopher Irwin.
Deputy Dalo and Lex attended the New York State Police K-9 Academy in Cooperstown, and Deputy Irwin and Kato attended the Orange County K-9 Academy, with the cost of their training covered by the donation.
In addition, the donation included funds for replacement of two unserviceable police vehicles with two new K-9 equipped vehicles and for the purchase of bullet-proof vests for the dogs, McNamara said.
The two new police vehicles include 2017 Ford Explorers, each fully equipped with a kennel cage, special dog mats, a temperature-sensing system that activates an alarm and automatically lowers the vehicle windows if the temperature exceeds a safe level, and a remote-controlled door opener that allows the deputy to release the dogs from the vehicle from a distance, he added.
In total, the monetary donation and the value of the trained purebred dogs are estimated to be about $120,000.
“On behalf of the taxpayers of Putnam County and the citizens who will be served and protected by the K-9 Unit, I express my sincerest gratitude to the Stilwell family for their most generous gift,” said Smith.
The Sheriff added that he was unaware of any other previous donation to the county of this kind, and noted that “it is a donation that will really help make the whole community safer.”
Ms. Stilwell told the Sheriff that she emigrated years ago from Poland to the United States and that she never takes the freedoms and the safety of this country for granted. She went on to say that her family was making the donation for the K-9 Unit because they wanted to give something back in gratitude for and in support of community safety.
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