The City of Flint Police Department held an event on Thursday, February 19, 2015 to unveil K9 Officer Edo’s new bullet resistant vest and to thank the many members of the community who helped raise the necessary funding. Funding for the vest was raised through an online crowd funding effort started by Flint Neighborhoods United and included help from the Bikes on the Bricks and Back to the Bricks organizations.
The Flint Police Department expressed its gratitude to the community for their inspirational and surprising level of support. “Flint had been without a K9 unit for almost a decade,” said Cpt. Leigh Golden, “the outpouring of support from the public was amazing.” In just four days, enough money was raised on the crowd funding site GoFundMe to meet the financial goal for buying the bullet resistant vest.
Members of various groups who participated in the effort were on hand for the occasion and some pledged continuing support for the FPD K9 team. Sonitrol Security Systems has offered to “adopt” Edo and pay for his care costs, while Machine Shop owner Kevin Zink is planning a June concert to raise funding for an additional FPD K9 unit.
K9 handler Ofc. John Boismier and his partner Edo gave a demonstration of the new vest to those in attendance. “Having an asset like Edo has really made a difference to not only Flint, but the entire area,” said Ofc. Boismier, who is regularly called upon by neighboring law enforcement to provide K9 assistance when possible.
K9 units can typically cost upwards of $10,000 in initial procurement and training, as well as $100 per month for ongoing animal care. Along with purchasing the dog, costs include the training for both handler and dog, specialized gear and patrol car outfitting, veterinary medical care and food. For the Flint Police Department, Edo was fortuitous gain.
“This department is lucky to have not only received Edo through a generous donation, but to have the support of an involved and caring community like we have here in Flint,” said Flint Police Chief James Tolbert. “Every day the residents and business owners in Flint demonstrate their willingness to be proactive in the safety of their community and this is just another great example of that cooperation.”
K9 Officer Edo was donated by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Department of Public Safety in 2014 after having been bred and trained in Poland. The MSU veterinary school agreed to pay for his food and medical care for the first year, leaving only the cost of gear, vehicle outfitting and additional training. With the help of all of the organizations, businesses and citizens coming together, Edo will have both the physical and financial security needed for him and Ofc. Boismier to provide safety to the community.