When Leigh Bartkowiak and other members of the Hoffman Estates Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association heard that Bundo, the police department's only dog, retired this month, they decided it was time to help pay for a replacement.
"It's a big plus, especially in a neighborhood that might have gangs and a lot of drugs," said Bartkowiak, who serves as vice president of the association. "They are a very menacing deterrent for criminals. They see the K-9 unit, they see the big dog, they're less likely to do anything in that general area."
The association is hosting a fundraiser called "Bowling for Bow! Wow!" from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Poplar Creek Bowl, 2354 W. Higgins Road, in an effort to raise money for a dog -- which is estimated to cost about $12,500. Tickets are $30 per person and include shoe rental and three games.
Hoffman Estates Police Chief Michael Hish said Bundo, now 9, has been with the department since he was 18 months old. The German shepherd had to retire because of health issues.
"We all know that (the police dogs) have a serviceable life of 8 to 9 years," he said.
Of the two police dogs prior to Bundo -- Bo, who served from 1994 to 2003, and Casper, who served from 1999 to 2007 -- one was paid for through the department's budget and another was funded by the alumni association, Hish said.
There currently is no money in the budget for a new dog, so Hish hopes the association will be able to help again.
He said the dogs assist with drug searches, including parking lot and locker searches at Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 High Schools, and they serve as a great public relations tool at events like DARE graduations and block parties.
The dogs, which are trained at a facility in Michigan, are "dual purpose" because they can track lost people or someone on the run and do building searches, Hish added.
For information on the fundraiser or to purchase tickets, call Bartkowiak at (847) 490-0817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.