HATBORO — K9 officer Louie officially became a member of the borough’s police department last month.
Louie received his swearing in and badge — number 59 — before a large crowd of spectators at the borough council’s May 20 meeting. By his side was Officer Ryan Allen, who has been training Louie and preparing him for his eventual service to the borough.
For his work launching the borough’s first K9 police unit, Allen received a certificate of recognition from Police Chief James Gardner at the meeting. Gardner said it was Allen who approached him several years ago with the idea for a K9 unit.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this officer and his determination on this project, “ Mayor Nancy Guenst said of Allen. “His determination was infectious.”
The borough announced its K9 program and fundraising drive to fully support the program last October. At that time, the borough established a GoFundMe page and set a fundraising goal of $40,000, which officials said would cover the startup cost as well the training and care of Louie over subsequent years.
Gardner thanked several borough organizations for their efforts in the drive, including Elm Street Hatboro, Hatboro Federal Savings Bank, and Crooked Eye Brewery. Guenst’s work on the project was also noted.
Gardner also offered thanks to the Warrington Police Department for its guidance during the fundraising efforts.
“They started their [K9] program by fundraising, and they were kind enough to share their techniques,” Gardner said. “They walked hand-in-hand with us through the process.”
Louie, a German Shepherd, begins his work in a limited capacity as a narcotics detection dog. By year’s end, he will be trained in patrol tactics, Gardner said.
Officials have said with new development and population growth in the borough, a K9 unit will provide an important crime-fighting tool. Louie is also expected to serve as an ambassador to help strengthen public relations between the community and law enforcement in the borough.
Louie is a graduate of the PennVet Working Dog Center, a national research and development center for detection dogs in Philadelphia.
In other news, the borough council announced May 20 that Hatboro been awarded a $200,000 grant through the Montco 2040 Implementation Grant Program toward improvements to Miller Meadow park.
According to the borough, the grant will cover the first phase of improvements to the park, which include installing a new sidewalk and buffer between pedestrians and York Road, adding a hard-surface trail throughout the park, installing a gazebo, planting a new wildflower meadow and adding street trees.
Future work there is expected to include the addition of interpretive signs, trailheads and new parking.