To end the 2018 year, the Prescott Foundation approved a $10,000 grant for the Prescott K-9 Fund as a promising start to this new community initiative. Fundraising for this effort began

after Police Chief Gary Krutke died in 2017. His family asked that, in lieu of sending flowers, memorial contributions be made to a K-9 program fund to assist in bringing an important public safety improvement to Prescott. The K-9 unit was approved by the city council during its November council meeting.

"We are pleased to see this project move forward with help from the Prescott Foundation," said Foundation board member Mark Helmer. "Officer Jesse Neely gave an impressive presentation on how the K-9 unit will be beneficial to the community with a goal of being cost neutral to local government.

" The K-9 unit will not only benefit Prescott but also benefits Pierce County as these dogs help in rescue efforts as well as drug enforcement, apprehension of suspects and protection of the officers. The K-9 unit will also increase community engagement, including with Prescott schools. Prescott was dependent on other communities to loan their K-9 units when needed and at the mercy of availability of these units regardless of the severity of our need. We are pleased that a strong group of safety minded citizens have stepped forward and championed this project."

The K-9 committee's objective is to use non-taxpayer dollars in the fundraising and future costs of supporting a K-9 unit in Prescott. To date, the committee has secured a company that will donate all the dog food needed for the life of the dog and the vet bills will be free of charge from a local veterinarian, including necessary vaccinations.

The committee also reports that insurance for the city of Prescott will not increase, but may actually receive a discount on premiums after an officer receives accredited certification of training, which is the plan.

However, the K-9 committee has work ahead of them to get to their goal of approximately $55,000 to get started. This money would be used to purchase the dog, train the handler and dog, and equip a squad car with specialized equipment.

"The support of the Prescott Foundation helps the project really get 'paws to the ground'," Neely said. "It gives the committee that initial capital to continue pursuing fundraising efforts and apply for larger grants."

Tax deductible donations can be made to the K-9 Fund online or by mail. For online donations,

click the donate button at prescottfoundation.com and designate the Prescott K-9 Fund in the

comment box. Checks can also be mailed to the Prescott Foundation, P.O. Box 392, Prescott WI 54021 (designate the Prescott K-9 Fund in the memo line on your check).