Donation made for new K9 unit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 15, 2022

Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner said that her department doesn’t like to ask the public for donations and rarely does unless it is something vital they don’t have the budget for.
But that’s what they did last month when they asked for donations to raise $15,000 to replace their K9 unit after their former K9, Goose, retired.

That’s why she and Mayor Sam Cramblit were at the law offices of Spears and Marinakis on Thursday afternoon after the law firm made a “sizable” donation to the IPD to help get the new K9.

“Mr. Spears and his law firm and his associates were very generous with us, gave us a sizable donation for our K9 fund which helped us move forward,” Wagner said. She added they sent a purchase order on Monday for the dog and the training for Patrolman Joe Akers, who met the dog, Ike, and his trainer on Tuesday in Ripley. “We are so excited, we cannot wait to get the dog on the streets.”

Attorney David Spears said that when he heard that the IPD no longer had a K9 after Goose retired, he felt compelled to help.

“My wife, Sue, looked at me and said ‘That is something we should help with,” Spears said. So he spoke with his son, Matt, who is part of the law firm and Angela Marinakis, another partner in the firm about assisting. They all agreed a donation would be a good idea.

Spears said they are long-time supporters of law enforcement, going back to when his father, Harold Spears, was the Lawrence County prosecutor in the 1950s as well as Sue

Spears’s father being an Ohio State Highway Patrol post commander in the 1960s and 1970s.

“I just felt this was the appropriate thing to do and I hate to see our police officers risking more than they already risk by not having the facilities and the assets they need,” Spears said. “And we are happy to help.”

Wagner said that having a trained K9 unit, while expensive, does save the police department in the long run. She pointed out that in a situation where officers are looking for drugs in a house, it could take the police several hours to locate what the dog can sniff out in minutes.

“So, that saves on overtime and we don’t end up ruining people’s property during a search,” Wagner said.

Mayor Cramblit said they are overwhelmed by the donations by the law firm.

“Whenever folks them come out to help us with our critical needs, it allows us, as a city, to do even more in addressing other critical needs we have in our police department,” he said.
Wagner said the start up amount for the K9 was $15,000, which has been met by the donation by Spears & Marinakis as well as generous donations from the Ironton Municipal Drug Court and other groups and citizens who wished to remain anonymous.

She said they are still collecting money because “we will have veterinarian bills and food costs.”

Akers said he spent three days with the dog and “he is ready to play, ready to go, ready for everything.”

Akers has never been a K9 handler before but has always wanted to be one.

“I’ve worked with (Lawrence County deputy) Steve Sisell with Johnny and worked with Goose,” he said. “It always peaked my interest, always wanted to be a K9 handler because it is very, very good tool to have.”

Goose, who joined the force in 2016, was retired last year because some medical issues and because his handler, Brian Pauley, was promoted to captain of the detective bureau and doesn’t do street patrols anymore.

Donations can be made out to the City of Ironton and mailed to 301 S. Third St., Ironton, Ohio, 45638.