WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — With the new year, the Williamsport Police Department will welcome a new member of the force, a four-legged crime fighter. Soon K9 Officer Tacoma will be a part of the force.
“In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would go as far as this did,” Williamsport Councilwoman Bonnie Katz said.
The ball is finally rolling on Williamsport’s Bureau of Police new K9 program. The police department has a long history of K9’s, but the program ended a few years back. Now, a new pup will be making his appearance and he goes by the name of Tacoma.
Thanks to a generous donation by Ciocca Dealerships, the K9 program is off to a great start. A press conference was held Wednesday morning where a more-than-$43,000 check was presented to the police department.
“We’re very very pro-police in terms of protecting them and protecting the citizens in the community and I thought it was a win-win situation and the community is the ones that support us and we wanted to give back and support them,” Gregg Ciocca, CEO of Ciocca Dealerships said.
“It’s an incredible experience. It really is, but my whole purpose to have this donation driven, not taxpayer driven and it’s amazing the support we’re getting,” Katz said.
Police say the K9 program will be a huge asset to the force, especially with all of the violent crimes that have taken place in the city in recent months.
“Immediate access to a K9 could mean catching a shooter on foot or identifying a location where a shooter ran to get a vehicle or where a weapon was thrown down right after the crime,” Williamsport Bureau of Police Chief Damon Hagan said.
And the community is thrilled.
“They’re just amazing. I’ve seen them. We used to have K9s here in Williamsport and I just like them better. The kids seem to gravitate towards them too and it gives police a good image because they can interact better with the kids,” Pamela Gill of Williamsport said.
The officer who will be assigned as Tacoma’s handler is expected to graduate from the K9 academy on January 31st. Then the department will begin to move forward with bringing Tacoma on board.