SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Police officers protect our streets every day. Most of them are equipped with body cameras to capture incidents at hand.
Now, one department in our region is equipping its K-9s with the same tool. This is the first of its kind in our region.
The Scranton Police Department never thought about getting a camera for its K-9 unit. But a non-profit offered and made it happen.
In the city of Scranton, on-duty police officers wear body cameras. The lens is there in hopes of raising accountability and bringing awareness no matter the call or traffic stop.
K-9s in the department can now be equipped with a much bigger, more advanced camera than their handlers.
“A more tactical situation a more high risk situation. It’s presenting a set of eyes that we’ve never had,” Robert Stelmak, K-9 Officer with the Scranton Police Department, said.
The view from the back of “Attyro” can be seen on a tablet, in 360 degrees, by an officer while Stelmak is instructing his K-9.
“You’re going to be able to send a dog and into something that you necessarily can’t see. But you’re going to be able to see what the dog can see. So the bottom of the steps you’re going to be able to have a view that you’ve never had before,” Stelmak said.
The department was approached by a non-profit near Philadelphia called “Iron Warriors.”
“My partner and best friend was killed in 2011 and he was K-9 unit,” Kyle Hummel, Co-Founder of Iron Warrior, Inc., said.
The organization is focused on empowering military veterans. In 2018, “Task Force Blue Line” was created to donate high definition cameras to K-9 units in Pennsylvania. Scranton was the most recent recipient.
“I went out in a day or two and got what they needed on their list. We don’t ask questions because once you ask questions you compromise safety and we do not compromise safety,” Hummel said.
Safety coming in at a cost of $10,000. Along with the camera, two iPads, reward toys and more were donated.
“This is great, it’s a piece of equipment that otherwise we couldn’t have or afford,” Stelmak said.
The K-9s will have three months of training so they feel comfortable with the camera on their backs. The camera’s video that is being captured and being stored on a “cloud” is being paid for by the non-profit for an entire year.