MADERA COUNTY — The newly reinvigorated K9 program at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office has just received another major financial boost with the donation of over $24,000.
Chief Civil Deputy Mike Motz, president of the Madera County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA), presented a check for $24,300 to the Board of Supervisors this morning, bringing their fundraising total for the K9 program to $104,000.
In March 2016, the DSA began working in collaboration with Sheriff Jay Varney and community organizations in a fundraising effort aimed at revitalizing the Sheriff’s K9 program.
The initial goal was to raise enough to purchase two dogs, and fund their training and equipment, then deploy one K9 team in the valley and one in the mountain area. They estimated they would need $36,000 to make that happen.
“We had no idea we would get such support from the public and private organizations as well,” said Motz. “We are very grateful for each and every contribution and will ensure that every penny will be put to good use for the Sheriff’s K9 program.”
This most recent donation is comprised of a $20,000 contribution from the Larry L. Hillbloom Foundation, the Mid-Cal Alarm Association, and citizen donations to the GoFundMe account set up by the DSA.
Several weeks ago, a representative of the Larry L. Hilbloom Foundation contacted Deputy Motz to learn more about the K9 program, then took it to their Board, who sent the generous check in support of the DSA’s efforts.
This contribution was just one of several that has enabled the Sheriff’s Office to expand their K9 unit. On Apr. 19, the Board accepted a check from the Lois L. Johnson Living Trust in the amount of $57,500, which allowed the Sheriff’s Office to expand their program and purchase four dogs instead of the two for which they had planned.
Last week, Cheryl Farnesi of Shafer Metal Stake in Madera, contacted Deputy Motz and said her family would like to make a donation in memory of retired Madera County Sheriff Sgt. Chuck Reiring. Her family contributed $750, and will continue to match that donation on an annual basis in honor of Deputy Rearing, who passed away in early September.
Recently acquired K9s Nacho and Gastone have been teamed up with Deputies Logan Majeski and Eric Jackson, and are currently deployed on patrol. Two additional deputies have been promoted to K9 handlers, and are awaiting the arrival of two more dogs, at which time the new teams will start their 5-week training. When they are ready for patrol, the Sheriff’s Office will have a K9 team on duty 24/7.
“Not only are these dog teams a much-needed resource tool for our deputies in assisting the Sheriff’s Office in investigations, searches and suspect apprehension, they are a huge benefit for citizens and provide enhanced public safety,” Motz told the Board. “Their mere presence provides an additional layer of safety for our deputies and handlers.”
Motz also expressed his thanks to Jeannie Darnell, the Breakfast Lions, VFW Post 1981 and the Indian Lakes Ladies Auxiliary for their contributions.
“It is very satisfying to know that the public and various organizations saw the value and chipped in to make this program successful,” said Motz. “It’s a huge tool for everyone, adds an additional layer of protection tor our officers and our DSA members, and also adds more resources and protection to general public.”