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Kennel Club donation improves safety for Allegan County Sheriff’s K9 Deputy

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: July 23, 2019

Photos courtesy of Allegan County Sheriff’s Department
Holland Michigan Kennel Club donated $1,000 to purchase a remote car door opener for Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Martin (third from left) to enable the quick release of his K9 Lajki from his patrol vehicle.

– By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Martin just got his new patrol vehicle in June. Thanks to the Holland Michigan Kennel Club, the K9 handler’s vehicle comes equipped with a remote controlled K9 door opener for improved safety.

Holland Michigan Kennel Club (HMKC) offered to help as outfitting patrol vehicles for K9s adds to department costs. “The Holland Michigan Kennel Club is very involved with our K9 team and plays a big role in our success. They asked us what we need equipment wise,” said Deputy Mike Martin of the POLC-represented unit. “As a team, we decided that the door popper would be very beneficial.”

Lakji takes his seat in the new police cruiser.

The Kennel Club donated $1,000 to cover the cost. “We were able to purchase mine with it,” Martin said. “Our other K9 patrol vehicles are now equipped with door poppers as well. They’re pretty standard – usually every K9 car has them. But the technology wasn’t as good as it is now. The popper could come open when driving down the road in our old cars from 10 years ago. With the new one, the car has to be in park in order for the door to pop open.”

Allegan has four K9 handlers and they have been training their dogs to prepare for exactly the types of urgent situations where a remote door opener will allow their dogs to help them. The door opener greatly improves officer safety, enabling K9s to be quickly released when time is of the essence and especially when officers cannot get to their vehicles to open the doors.

“As far as making traffic stops, when we get in an unexpected altercation or have an emergency situation where our K9s are needed, it definitely is a huge benefit,” Martin said. “We just hit the button on our belt for our dogs to come help us out. We do K9 training every Thursday where we practice using the door popper. If that door comes open, they’re trained to find us or go after the suspect if needed.”

”We do a lot of training based off other incidents that happened in the United States,” Martin said. “We re-enact those scenarios in training.”

Holland Kennel Club has a long history of aiding the department. They purchased Martin’s K9 partner Lajki for the department in February 2017 and another K9 for Allegan County prior to that. They have assisted Ottawa County Sheriffs K9 unit, also represented by POLC, with funding since the 1980s.

“My dog cost almost $15,000 with all the training and equipment,” Martin said.

“Holland Michigan Kennel Club has been helping Allegan County K9 units for over 10 years,” said Kim Caines, Holland Michigan Kennel Club President. “HMKC wants to give back to the community and what better way than to help an organization that makes society a better place to be.”

Food, medical care and training also add significantly to the department budget. “Donations are where we get all of our extra training based (items),” Martin said. “We’re very fortunate to have the Holland Kennel Club. We’re very appreciative. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.”

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