Donations Show Support for K-9 Cops Growing in Village

Police Chief Andrew Klotz hasn’t sent out letters soliciting donations for a K-9 unit for the village, but businesses and residents already have donated hundreds of dollars toward its acquisition, he told Bridgeport Village Council Tuesday night.

The largest promise comes from Bill’s Towing, which has offered to sell the village a 2007 Ford Explorer – valued at $10,200 – at half price for use as a transport vehicle for the dog, Klotz said.

Including the $5,100 pledge from Bill’s Towing, he said he has received total contributions of $5,780 since announcing his intent to bring a K-9 unit to the village at council’s Sept. 4th meeting.

Klotz said he visited Tri-State K-9 Service in Huntington, W.Va., recently to learn more about the training and care for drug and tracking dogs, and he shared the information he learned with council members Tuesday.

The cost of the dog and five weeks of training with Officer Kevin Yates is $11,800, and when the cost of the Ford Explorer is added in a total of $16,900 would need to be raised, Klotz told council. He added that Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas has offered to donate a light bar for the Explorer.

Klotz also noted the village soon will be receiving a check for $3,000 from Shelley and Sands Construction Co. The construction company recently did work in Bridgeport, and village police cruisers were used in providing safety protection.

Klotz asked council if the $3,000 could be placed in the police department’s K-9 account when it is received.

Council passed a motion directing Village Solicitor Mark Thomas to craft a resolution indicating council’s support for the K-9 unit project, with this resolution to be voted on at the next council meeting. Thomas was not present at Tuesday’s council meeting.

In other matters, new Belmont County Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Fregiato spoke to council, and thanked them for their support during the 16 years he served as the county’s Northern Division Court judge.

Mayor John Callarik and his secretary, Ann Gallagher, asked Fregiato if he would continue to sentence criminals to community service in Bridgeport in his new position.

“Yes, but not to as high a degree,” Fregiato told them. “One of the rules that I had … they had to be non-violent offenders. You do understand I’m dealing with a different situation now.

“Most of my people I don’t even send to jail. I send them to prison,” he said.