The Harper Woods Department of Public Safety says Kaiser the police dog has been an important resource since he was added to its ranks in 2016.

The Harper Woods Department of Public Safety says Kaiser the police dog has been an important resource since he was added to its ranks in 2016.

Photo provided by Steven Johnson

GPAAS to host fundraiser for Harper Woods K-9 program

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published October 26, 2018

HARPER WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society is inviting people to join it at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help in the group’s continued support for the Harper Woods K-9 program and its local police dog, Kaiser.

The dinner will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the AMVETS Post 57, located at 19730 Harper Ave. in Harper Woods.

“We try to do two fundraisers each year,” said Corrine Martin, director of the GPAAS. “We usually do a motorcycle ride in the fall, but we couldn’t this year, so we are doing a spaghetti dinner instead.”

Officer Steven Johnson is Kaiser’s partner. Johnson said the department depends on the help of the GPAAS to ensure it is able to continue to operate the K-9 program.

“He’s assisted in several good arrests. He’s helped with some narcotics seizures. The point of this fundraiser is to maintain the upkeep for him,” said Johnson. “It’s good for the future of the community and the surrounding communities. As a new team, we’re becoming very successful together. This fundraiser would help tremendously to continue to improve our program and training for years to come.”

Martin said the event will be a fairly straightforward spaghetti dinner fundraiser, with dinner for those who attend and a chance to learn more about the K-9 program.

“It’s an opportunity for people to meet Kaiser the K-9 officer and enjoy a spaghetti dinner while providing funds for sustaining a great program for the community,” she said. “Rex, from Rex’s Deli, will be cooking. It should be a fun night and a good way to get involved in the local community.”

The GPAAS has been at the forefront of the effort to provide a K-9 unit for the Harper Woods Department of Public Safety. It began the fundraising efforts to bring on Kaiser in 2015 and was able to acquire both the dog and the necessary equipment to maintain him as a police resource in 2016.

“A lot of people didn’t realize that when we initially raised funds for the dog and the car, it would be an ongoing program with continued costs to ensure the program can continue,” Martin explained. “This means food, veterinary care and normal care for the dog. The police officer also requires certain equipment, and every year, police dogs need to be recertified.”

Since being added to the department, Martin said, Kaiser has been a useful and visible part of the community.

“Kaiser is a certified patrol K-9 in obedience, tracking, article search, area and building search, narcotic detection and handler protection,” she said. “Plus, he is a very nice dog who does a lot of community events. We thought it would be good for the community and would be good for the police department, and having a K-9 unit helps them be the best department they can be.”

The group hopes to raise enough money to maintain Kaiser for the next year between this dinner and another fundraiser it hosted in the spring.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000 annually for the K-9 program,” said Martin. “We got about $4,000 in the spring at our pancake breakfast at Redeemer Church, so we’re hoping to raise another $5,000 or $6,000 at this dinner.”

Johnson said the department is not releasing exact numbers related to busts involving the K-9 unit yet, but he said that despite not being active as a team for very long, he and Kaiser have shown the unit’s worth to the people of Harper Woods.

“Kaiser has participated in a large amount of vehicle searches for narcotics; a large portion were found to be positive indications from Kaiser for narcotics inside the vehicles. He has also assisted with doing currency checks to show if narcotic odor was on the currency or not,” Johnson wrote in an email. “Kaiser has assisted with locating evidence left behind by suspects after a crime has been committed. … Kaiser has been called to assist police departments with the tracking of wanted suspects as well as missing persons. He has had great success with tracking and is continuing to progress when searching for people.”

Johnson hopes people will come down and meet him and Kaiser at the dinner.

“Kaiser and I are still a young K-9 team, and we are continuing to progress together by maintaining a consistent training schedule,” Johnson wrote in the email. “We are committed to keeping Harper Woods and the surrounding communities safe, and as always, our K-9 program was made possible by GPAAS and the supportive residents within the communities. Because of the continued tremendous support, Kaiser and I will continue to progress and serve the citizens of the communities.”