GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The Green Township Police Department recently lost one of its own when K-9 Dino collapsed and stopped breathing while tracking a suspect.
Now, thanks to some help from the community, Dino is being honored with another police dog who will take his place on the force.
Bruce and Nancy Haverkamp created the Matt Haverkamp Foundation 12 years ago, in memory of their son who had died. He was a K-9 officer, and the foundation provides K-9 units for local police departments.
"We thought there wouldn't be a better way to remember him than to create a foundation whose mission would be to buy K-9s and support K-9 units for local police departments," Nancy Haverkamp said.
So far, they've provided more than 40 dogs to various agencies. Dino was the 13th, a Belgian Malinois/Shepherd mix trained in narcotic detection and tracking.
The news of Dino's death was shocking to many.
"We were hearth broken," Nancy Haverkamp said. "Dino was such a loyal partner to his handler, Tony. We've seen them often. He did great work. He was a tremendous asset to the department and our community."
With the help of community donations and the sales of T-shirts in honor of Dino, the foundation has collected enough money to buy Green Township police another dog.
ORDER T-shirts here.
It's not a cheap investment. Factoring in training, police K-9 units can cost up to $15,000.
"It's not a one-shift job for these guys, it's 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether they're working or training with their dogs," Bruce Haverkamp said.
Altogether, the foundation is buying 12 more K-9s this week.
"With the power of their nose and their incredible sense of smell, what they're able to do is such a value to the department and the handler," Nancy Haverkamp said.