The Wheeling Police Department has added a sixth member to its K9 force, thanks to a $13,000 donation provided by the Fitzsimmons Foundation of Wheeling.
K9 Zero will be purchased and trained to eventually replace K9 Bella. K9 Bella has been a part of the department since 2011, and will be retiring within the next one to two years.
“Training is key to any K9 and their handler. This funding will help train Zero along with his handler for the next six weeks,” said Cpl. Doug Howell, Wheeling Police Department’s K9 team leader, in a press release.
“We are very grateful to the Fitzsimmons Foundation for making this possible.”
K9 Zero will be coming to Wheeling from Zanesville, and is a Belgian Malinois and will be a narcotics patrol dog with Officer Jason Hupp.
“Our local law enforcement officials sacrifice so much and risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe. We cannot thank them enough for their service. As a small token of our appreciation, we are proud to make this donation to the Wheeling Police Department for the purchase of a new police dog. We are also hopeful that this donation will help combat the increasing drug and opioid problem affecting our communities,” said Clayton Fitzsimmons.
The Wheeling Police Department currently has five K9’s on the department. Four are narcotics trained dogs – Ammo, Bella, Jericho and Keeni. A fifth K9, Declan, is trained to sniff explosives.