Uniontown City Council has approved establishing a permanent endowment fund for the city police department’s K-9 program.

Council voted to approve a permanent fund agreement with Community Foundation of Fayette County establishing the fund to solicit, manage and distribute donations solely for the K-9 program.

Council also approved transferring $7,500 that had been donated for the program into the fund, an amount garnered after city police reached out to community members and business owners soliciting donations to reinstitute the program.

“The support has been very generous from the community, local businesses and citizens of Uniontown,” Chief Jason Cox reported to council. “Along those lines, I wanted to try to come up with a sustainability plan so that we’d have funding for future generations and future needs within the K-9 program.”

The program lost K-9 Xavier when he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last year and K-9 Leonidas when he was diagnosed with Wobbler disease. Both dogs died earlier this year.

City police have moved onto a new generation of dogs for K-9 service. Kilo, whose handler is Officer Matthew Painter, has completed narcotics training and Simo, handled by Sgt. Wayne Brown, is currently in bomb detection training and will join the department at the end of the month.

Council also approved applying for a Local Share Account grant for police items, as Cox indicated the police department’s wish list included K-9 unit technology, in-car video cameras and mobile digital computers for police vehicles.

In another related move, council approved applying for a Ben Roethlisberger Foundation grant. The foundation awards grants that help police and fire department K-9 units buy dogs and dog safety vests and meet other K-9 needs.

The foundation plans to distribute grants in the greater Pittsburgh area as well as cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers during the 2019 NFL season.

Cox noted that having a sustainability plan can help with grant funding consideration.

City police are still accepting donations for the K-9 program.

Donations can be mailed to the Uniontown City Police Department, 45 E. Penn St., Uniontown, PA 15401. Checks can be made payable to the City of Uniontown K-9 fund. For more information, Cox can be emailed at cox17@uniontowncitypd.org, and the department may be reached at 724-430-2929.

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