The Allentown Police Department is expanding its K9 corps thanks to donations from the community.
At a morning news conference in City Council Chambers, Mayor Ray O’Connell announced donations from Remembering Brian Kanterman Inc., J. S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Inc. and the start of a fundraising drive from the Gail Hoover Foundation.
Remembering Brian Kanterman Inc. is donating the cost total of $13,500 of a patrol/narcotics dog and training, including seven weeks of room and board for the dog’s handling officer. Additionally, Remembering Brian Kanterman Inc. has also pre-ordered and purchased a ballistic vest for this K9 at a cost of $3,099.
J. S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Inc. is donating $3,000 that will go towards the training of an explosives dog. That dog is under order from a previous contract.
Former Allentown City Councilwoman Gail Hoover announced that the foundation is embarking on a campaign to raise funds for a K9 officer.
O’Connell said, “We are very thankful to the Kanterman organization and the Burkholder Funeral Home for their generous donations. Our K9 officers are valuable members of the department. They help keep officers safe and are important contributors to investigations.
The mayor added, “Gail Hoover has been a tireless advocate for causes across the city and the region. I thank her for stepping-up to lead a fundraising effort for the K9 unit.”
“The generosity seen by the community so far in support of our K9 unit is overwhelming”, said Allentown Police Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. “The commitment by the Kanterman family through the Remembering Brian K Foundation as well as the significant contributions by the team at J. S. Burkholder Funeral Home reminds me of the positive effect our K9 Unit has on our community. We are appreciative of Gail Hoover continuing this fundraising effort so that we may complete our complement of dogs as well as plan for the future. It is safe to say that these K9 Units serve the city and increase our safety as well as being a conduit for a public interaction with our police departments. Our K9 Units perform hundreds of demonstrations a year and are a very recognizable part of our department and city.”
Brian Kanterman began a life of public service at the age of 15 by volunteering as an EMT in New Jersey.
After college, Brian became a patrol deputy with the Stafford County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office. He loved dogs and hoped to be a K9 officer. Brian broke his foot while pursuing a suspect and became a correctional officer at the jail during rehabilitation. He died unexpectedly last Christmas Day at the age of 25 while working at the Rappahannock Regional Jail. Part of the non-profit’s mission is to purchase dogs for agencies that recently lost a dog in the line of duty.
In making the presentation, Brian’s father, Stan, said, “Brian understood the value of K9’s and the not-for-profit that was started in his name is pleased to select the Allentown Police Department as the recipient of its first K9 donation.”
J. S. Burkholder Funeral Home Inc. approached the department about getting involved following the September passing of APD K9 Harley following a brief and courageous battle with cancer.
J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Inc. Supervisor Sonya Siegfried said, “We the staff of the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home held our 2nd Annual Tree Lighting and Remembrance Ceremony on Friday, November 29. We celebrated the lives of 166 individuals we took care of from November 1, 2018 to October 31, 2019. Our family wanted to make a contribution in memory of these individuals to a cause that had touched our hearts and was located in our neighborhood. One individual we were humbled to handle services for this year was Allentown K-9 Police Officer Harley. Our whole staff was moved by his story and relationship with his partner Allentown Police Officer Andrew Fegely. We learned of the need and the expense of acquiring another K-9 officer and wanted to help. This contribution is given with the understanding that the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home family will actively be involved in fundraising to acquire additional K-9 officers. We have a vested interest in Allentown and want our city and its officers to remain safe.”
The Gail Hoover Foundation was established in 2013. It is a Non-Profit Organization Declared Tax Exempt under 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation was established in 2013 and raises funds to fight AIDS and assist animal and pet charities.
“Who are you going to call when our first responders need something? The Gail Hoover Foundation,” said Hoover! “We are very excited to spearhead the fundraising for K9 officers along with the required training and support for the City of Allentown.”
Interested persons can donate securely through the Foundation’s Non-Profit PayPal account here: https://www.gailhooverfoundation.org/donate-now/
The department currently has two active K9 officers, Django and Remi. They are paired with their handlers, Officer Jonathan Smith for Django and Officer Talden Cashatt for Remi.