Houston's a city of great giving and the CultureMap Charity Challenge aims to highlight that. CultureMap selected 12 deserving nonprofits to compete for a grand prize as they all raise awareness for worthy causes. Today: K9s4COPS.
Founded in 2010 by Kristi Schiller, K9s4COPS is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to ensure that every law enforcement agency be provided a well-trained K9 to accompany officers on duty, ready for action. K9s cost between $10,000 to $15,000 per dog, and most agencies struggle when budgeting for the purchase of a K9. The foundation aims to make K9 companions readily available for the safety of officers, as well as the general safety of Houston residents.
Police K9s receive specific training to assist law enforcement in ways other tools cannot. The structure of a dog’s nose gives it a sense of smell that is 300,000 to 500,000 times stronger than the human nose, allowing them to follow a scent trail undetectable to humans, even breaking down specific scents. For that reason K9s are used to sweep venues for explosives, search buildings for narcotics and apprehend suspects on the run.
By January 2015, the foundation's K9s have successfully aided in the capture of suspects, recovered lost children, detected explosives in public venues and removed in excess of $60 million of contraband off the streets. All of these actions resulted in the life-saving protection of the officers.
Just this week the Houston-based organization donated a K9 officer named K9 Liberté (Liberty) to the Paris police force to replace a valiant K9 that was killed in the Paris terrorist attacks. It is the first time that the organization had made such an international donation. A ceremony at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. celebrated the exchange.