Autumn season means one thing here at Aftermath. As excited as we get for football, bonfires, and sweater weather, we’re even more pleased to announce the start of our annual Aftermath K9 Contest. Last year, the contest underwent some major changes; community participation made for an exciting competition as departments across the nation vied for the prize. Many readers nominated and voted for their local favorites. They followed our blog and kept an eye on social media, tracking their local department as we narrowed down the top contenders.
It was an exciting race, and we’re expecting an even bigger turnout this year. While this year’s contest doesn’t begin until October, you can get a head start by checking out our previous years winners. Learn a little about the dogs, and get ready for next month – when your department could become the newest addition to our K9 Hall of Fame!
Leaders of the Pack
Over the years, Aftermath has contributed to several police departments, helping them maintain and grow their K9 programs. In 2015, Aftermath Services presented the Lake County Sheriff’s K9 Unit with a $5,000 check as part of Aftermath’s annual K9 Giveaway Contest. Dax, Diesel, and Duke, along with their handlers, met with us last November and shared the story of their program. Recently, Aftermath had the opportunity to catch up with the unit once again. We spent two days with the crew, witnessing first-hand the rigorous training these dogs go through in order to perform their jobs and serve their community. We were also present when they were officially sworn in as officers!
The winner of Aftermath’s 2014 K9 Drawing was Abbey Villwock, an Information Specialist with the Illinois state Kane County Sheriff’s Office, in the Warrant Processing Division. The $5,000 prize complimented another grant received by the agency. The purchase cost of the new K9, a shepherd named Jack, was covered by Spirit Blue Foundation and the Planet Dog Foundation, while the funds from Aftermath covered the cost of a three-week intensive training course for Jack’s handler, who was new to the Division.
The 2013 winner of the K9 Contest was the Essex County Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey. The large department has had a full-time K9 bomb sniffing unit since 1994; experienced handlers regularly train other units throughout the region. And in the inaugural year of the contest, the award was given to the Lower Allen Township Police Department in Pennsylvania. The Department used the funds to acquire a K9 named Rocco, a mix of German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois.
How Does the Contest Work?
In 2015, Aftermath decided to do something a little different with the K9 Contest. To illustrate our community mission while still rewarding dedicated members of law enforcement, any member of the community could nominate and vote for their local police department. They were also allowed to vote every day, and departments gained extra votes by submitting photos. And most importantly – the winning department may use the $5000 grant to benefit the unit in any number of ways, including the purchase of safety equipment, additional training, and supplies such as food and veterinary care – all important and costly aspects of maintaining a strong K9 unit.
Create Your Own Happy Tail
Whether your local police already has a K9 Unit, or they’re hoping to add one soon, the Aftermath K9 Contest is a great way to support their efforts. This October we’ll be giving away another grant to one lucky organization, for either the creation or maintenance of a K9 unit. Be sure to keep an eye on our blog, and on Facebook and Twitter, for the full rules and up-to-date announcements.