WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Spike is a black lab that spends most of his time searching for electronic devices with detectives in the Luzerne County district attorney's office. Right now, he's looking for your vote to win the Aftermath K-9 Grant.
"Which is a national grant," explained Det. Chas Balogh of the Luzerne County district attorney's office. "We have Spike entered as one of the contestants. The top vote-getter gets a $5,000 grant."
Det. Balogh is Spike's handler. He says the grant money would go toward medical bills, food, and training for Spike so he can continue uncovering evidence, like memory cards or cell phones.
"You're talking about such small items where spike can go into a room and located those items much easier than we can," said Balogh.
Last year, the Larksville Police Department won the grant. This year, it's competing again against Luzerne County detectives and other law enforcement agencies in our region for the top prize.
"I think what a lot of people don't realize is that K-9 units are not funded by the department or the city's budget," says Joseph Homza, a patrolman K-9 handler for the Wilkes-Barre Police Department.
Homza says his K-9 unit relies solely on donations and grants. His dog, Chase, specializes in finding narcotics and catching fugitives. Homza says the wherever the grant goes, it won't just help those living in that department's jurisdiction, because K-9 units often travel.
"We have gone to other counties to assist in K-9 operations, we've assisted federal agencies in different cases, whether it's narcotics cases or fugitive apprehension cases," adds Homza.
Many K-9 units in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are looking for your vote to help keep our communities safe. You can vote for your favorite here. Voting will close on November 3, and the winner will be announced on November 6.