JOHNSTOWN — On Thursday, the Johnstown Police Department received its 3rd K-9 Unit from The K-9 Community Fund through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.
“The delivery of this vehicle is really special. This is another example of how the community, labor and management, both public and private, working together for a common cause – and that cause is the greater good of the entire community. Collectively, what we are doing will benefit the region as a whole, not just the City of Johnstown,” Jack Babich, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at AmeriServ said.
This vehicle represents a joint venture between the City of Johnstown and the K-9 Community Fund, working together to acquire the expensive equipment needed for this specialized department. It costs approximately $38,000 to purchase and outfit a new K-9 vehicle.
According to Jeff Stopko, President and CEO of AmeriServ Financial, Inc., “This effort continues to build on the momentum of recent fundraising efforts by community leaders to purchase equipment such as the Automated License Plate Reader, K-9 dogs, and actual K-9 vehicles, and support other needs within the police force.” Stopko added, “AmeriServ will continue to donate to this community initiative and I emphasize again that it is so nice to see the efforts of this grass roots initiative payoff.”
David Andrews, an attorney with Andrews and Beard, will present the K-9 Community Fund with a $3,000 donation. “This is a very important initiative to the City and I want to thank everyone involved. It is great to be a part of it. The City can’t do it on its own, but it can do it with the help of local individuals and local companies. We urge people to support this effort with a donation of any amount – from $5 to $5,000 – because a stronger police unit will decrease crime and help with the revitalization of our community.”
Mike and Matt Smith, owners of the Laurel Auto Group, have continued their support of the program and have made donations both personally and professionally over the past two years, including the initial $2,500 contribution to the fund. Laurel Auto Group continues to provide the vehicles at cost and has front-ordered the vehicles per the specifications needed, covering the cost until the full amount is raised.
“Laurel Auto Group is happy to support such an important collaboration. It’s the City of Johnstown’s police force, but a safer city will lead to safer surrounding communities, too. This is something that will benefit everyone, so we definitely encourage others to support this fund,” Smith said.
Team Force, PA Public Safety, and Graphics by Layton, all long-time supporters of this initiative, continues its support by installing the emergency lighting and other equipment needed for the vehicle transformation.
“To see people come together is always encouraging,” Mike Kane, President of the Community Foundation, said. “This fund has grown over the years and is able to make a difference in the police department, because people want to support the officers.”
“The Johnstown Police Department K-9 program not only provides a valuable police service to the residents of the city but is considered a regional asset,” Craig Foust, Chief, Johnstown Police Department, said. “Johnstown, due to its current financial status, would be hard pressed to continue this program without this community support.” The chief went on to say that the vehicles that were obtained through this fund allowed the K-9 officers to respond to all calls in safe and effective manner. “The Johnstown Police Department could not continue to provide this service without the support of the public that we serve, thank you to all who do so much to support our K-9s and officers,” he added.
City Mayor Frank Janakovic said that these new vehicles will be greeted with great enthusiasm by City officers. “Johnstown City Council and I are extremely pleased with the initiative that has been presented. Carlos Gunby, Johnstown’s City Manager, believes that the addition of these vehicles has provided much needed assistance to the City’s police department in being more responsive to our local citizens, but it will also serve as a morale booster to all of our police officers.”