Henderson County’s K-9 officers will receive training and conditioning at home thanks to a local group’s effort to raise funds for a dog training park.

The money and resources were rounded up by STAND T.A.L.L. (Thank A Local Lawman) after learning there was a need for specialized dog agility equipment used to maintain the skills, training levels and physical conditioning of the police K-9s.

While the county owns several parcels of land that could be considered for such a facility, law enforcement did not have the funds to purchase the materials needed for an agility park.

In response, STAND T.A.L.L. members reached out to donors and building supply companies to ask for donations of materials and funds to provide everything needed to build the course, open to all K-9 units in the county.

The county selected Trace Barn, a covered facility at the Transfer Station, as the location to house the new K-9 agility park.

The training components will be built to meet the standards of the North American Police Work Dog Association, according to STAND T.A.L.L., assuring all the K-9 departments in the county can maintain the highest levels of training and readiness.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help of STAND T.A.L.L.,” said Mike Marsteller, K-9 team supervisor with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. “They’ve been a tremendous resource for us not only with our K-9s, but in providing for a number of needs within the department in the past.”

“This is one of the many things that STAND T.A.L.L. does in the community,” said Ron Kauffman, the organization’s president. “We work with all law enforcement to fund some of their unbudgeted needs. Equally important, we provide programs like Kids & Cops at the Boys & Girls Club and our new Books & Badges program in collaboration with the Hands On! Children Museum.”

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This past year, STAND T.A.L.L. was contacted by local law enforcement from both the Sheriff’s Office and the Hendersonville Police Department with unique requests for financial assistance.

 The Sheriff’s Office wanted, but didn’t have the budget, to purchase bulletproof vests for their K-9s when the teams were out on patrol. The Hendersonville Police had the funds to acquire Sunny, the newest addition to their K-9 team, but had no funding for the 16 weeks of training required to have Sunny certified for duty.

Both agencies reached out to STAND T.A.L.L. for assistance. With help from the community, STAND T.A.L.L. was able to raise the funds needed for the vests and training.

STAND T.A.L.L.-Thank a Local Lawman is an ongoing project of the Sentinel Patriot Club of North Carolina, a nonprofit corporation. Continued success depends heavily on fundraising from members of the community. More information visit www.thankacop.org. Donations are always welcome and can be made on the website.