The Klickitat County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) is creating a K-9 Unit to assist with patrol, narcotic detection, and search and rescue (SAR), Sheriff Bob Songer recently announced.

“We are asking the citizens of Klickitat County to be our partner in creating the K-9 Unit for the Sheriff's Office through monetary donations,” Songer said in a press release dated June 25.

According to Songer, in April of this year, KCSO staff and volunteers from the KCSO Posse began gathering information to bring a K-9 Unit to Klickitat County’s unincorporated area.

“The K-9 team has identified a vendor for acquiring and training the K-9, and also received donations for services and gear once the K-9 Unit is in place, both locally and nationally. Our goal this summer is to raise $55,000 of the first-year cost,” Songer said.

The cost of the K-9 program is $134,000 which includes the dep-uty-handler, the canine, equipment and supplies. A portion of these expenses are currently covered by the Sheriff's Office’s 2019 budget. This includes a current deputy, the vehicle, and maintenance.

“[H]owever we are reaching out to local, regional and national partners for funding assistance to cover the difference,” Songer stated.

He went on, “The ways our community can benefit from his K-9 Team will be locating lost persons in a Search and Rescue scenario in a fraction of the time it takes an entire team of human searchers to accomplish the task. The K-9 Team will serve as back-up to deputies and officers in tracking criminals, increasing the safety of their partner during high risk traffic stops, and assisting in securing unsecured buildings. A K-9 deputy can be an invaluable resource to both the community and the agency that supports them.”

Moreover, Songer said, the safety of the citizens of and visitors to Klickitat County “is the first priority for the Klickitat County Sheriff's Office, and the addition of a K-9 Unit will add a valuable tool to allow us to achieve this goal quickly and efficiently.”

Songer said the Klickitat County Sheriff's Office” is greatly appreciative of our partnership with you and we hope to build this much needed K-9 Program for our community.”

KCSO is reaching out to individuals and organizations in the county that might be available to meet with KCSO and the K-9 Team to discuss funding “this important safety program for our community,” Songer said.

Individuals and organizations can contact either Deputy Gaven Marble, K-9 Handler, at 509-261-2848, or Sheriff Bob Songer at 509-261-1833 or 509-773-4455 to set up an appointment.

KCSO last had a K-9 unit in the 1990s. It ended with the retirement of the dog.

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