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Lane County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) recently received $1,000 in financial donations from Florence Elks Lodge 1858 and local veteran’s group Band of Brothers to help pay for advanced K9 training for “Hektor,” a 20-month-old Belgian Malinois, and his human handler, Deputy Raymond May.
Hektor and May are the newest addition to the LCSO and are preparing to participate in a multi-week, advanced training program, which costs $4,500.
Sharon and Tom Armstrong are members of the Elks Lodge, and they decided to try to contribute to the costs associated with the additional training after seeing a press release describing the need for financial support from the community for the advanced training.
Tom is a member of the unofficial group of local veterans known as the Band of Brothers and a longtime member of the Elks.
The Band of Brothers meets weekly at the Elks Lodge, and Tom brought up the idea of making a donation for the training at a recent meeting.
“The Band of Brothers takes up a collection on a regular basis, and when the fund builds up to a certain level they want to find a community-based project to support,” Sharon said. “So, when they saw the picture of the dog in the Siuslaw News, it grabbed their attention and they thought that would be a great way to show our support for law enforcement and contribute to a worthwhile cause.”
Tom then contacted the LCSO and eventually spoke with Hektor’s handler, May. May and Hektor had received their initial training but were preparing to learn more sophisticated techniques and procedures that would benefit the entire county.
May was appreciative of the donation being considered and agreed to make the trip to Florence to introduce the dog to the people that were donating money to assist in the K9 pair’s advanced training.
“When Deputy May called back, he said he would bring the dog to a meeting — and that really convinced the group it was the right fundraiser to get involved in,” Sharon said. “When he spoke to our group, he was very funny, and the dog was so impressive, we knew we had made a good choice.”
She said that when the time for the presentation of the check arrived, she was surprised at the reaction of those in attendance.
“At the meeting where we presented the checks, other guests stepped forward after the presentation and contributed their own personal checks or in some instances cash to the LCSO unit,” Sharon said.
According to the LCSO, the K9 Program is funded largely by community donations which cover the cost of food, veterinary services and equipment, including a bullet proof vest for the dog.
K9 teams are required to pass the annual Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA) standards tests, after having received an initial 240 hours of basic training. They also complete a minimum of 16 hours of formal training each month and attend supplementary OPCA seminars each fall and spring.
The LCSO has two canine units which are used to locate subjects that have fled the immediate area of a crime or to cover a larger crime area that would require many more officers to search. They can also be trained to locate illegal drugs or explosive devices that may not be visible to a human officer.
To contribute to Hektor’s training, contact the sheriff’s office at 541-682-4150.