Hadley Police eye special K-9 cruiser

  • Hadley Officer Douglas Costa works with his K-9 partner, Nomar. Costa is launching a fundraising campaign to pay for a special cruiser equipped for police dogs. Gazette File photo

Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

HADLEY — A Hadley police officer and his police dog partner, Nomar, are beginning an effort to raise money to buy and outfit a new specialty cruiser.

Sgt. Douglas Costa said Wednesday that a fundraising event, scheduled for the Texas Roadhouse, 280 Russell St., on Feb. 1 from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m., will begin the campaign to collect $48,000.

Unlike a typical cruiser, the one used by the K-9 unit needs to be outfitted with a kennel that ensures Nomar’s safety during patrols, Costa said. This includes heat sensors that will keep the vehicle from getting too hot during the summer and window fans. There is also a door-popper device that allows Costa to free Nomar if he is needed for emergency backup.

Currently, Costa and Nomar use the oldest active car in the department’s cruiser fleet. Its backup vehicle, the one originally used when Nomar joined the department in 2013, also has over 130,000 miles on its odometer.

“Both cars are starting to run into a variety of issues, and unfortunately neither really should be used as more than a backup cruiser much longer,” Costa said.

A 5-year-old German shepherd born in the Netherlands, Nomar was purchased in August 2013 from Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. Startup expenses and training were paid for under a grant from the Stanton Foundation.

In 2014, Costa and Nomar trained to become certified in narcotics detection with a focus on heroin, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, and have since assisted in drug arrests and searches for both suspects and missing people.

Costa said the department has also gotten grants for Nomar’s bullet-proof vest and emergency veterinary care. But raising money privately has been a goal, so as not to impact the town’s budget, other than ongoing maintenance to vehicle.

“Our goal is to be able to continue the K-9 program for years while simultaneously appearing invisible in regards to the department budget,” Costa said.

Costa said people can also make donations to “Hadley Police K-9 Gift Account” at 15 East St., Hadley, MA 01077, and a GoFundMe page may be created in the future.