- K-9 Unit
Best Friends of the ForceOur K-9 Unit has been in existence for more than 20 years. The current unit was formed through the support of the community, and generous donations received by the Kiwanis Club. The unit includes Ptl. Denny Funari, the handler for CASH, Ptl. JP Toth, the handler for TIMMY, and Ptl. Rich Dudas, the handler for VINCE.
Officers Funari and Toth and their dogs completed their training and were officially sworn in on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Ptl. Dudas completed his training on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Read about the unit on page 5
Officer Funari was the handler for the earlier K-9 that contributed much to the police department: Floppy, Jaro, and most recently, Chico who passed away in March 2017.
The Westlake K-9 Unit has been featured on WKYC. Watch officer JP Toth and Timmy here or by clicking play in the video below.
Strong Start for the New Unit
In 2018, the unit was deployed 265 times. 182 were for Community Relations activities, including increased presence in schools and high density areas such as Crocker Park. The Enforcement activities include 23 mutual aid requests for other agencies, 50 sniffs, 16 area searches, and 6 force protection. Force protection, while low in number, is significant for reducing the need for officer involved use of force and encouraging surrender of dangerous suspects, reducing the risk of injury to both. 34 times the deployment of the K-9 directly led to arrests/citable offenses.
Donate to Support the K-9 Unit
The Westlake Kiwanis' Westlake Kiwanis Youth Foundation Inc. started a Canine Fund in late 2016 that raised approximately $36,000 for the acquisition, training, and deployment of the unit in 2017.
The Westlake Kiwanis is continuing to accept donations for the ongoing expenses of the unit. Please make your check payable to Westlake Kiwanis, note on or with the check "Canine Fund," and mail to:
25935 Detroit Rd., Box 179
Westlake, OH 44145