Gwinnett County Police Department received a donation in the summer of this year that led to the purchase of a new K-9 police officer. This month, they introduced the new officer to the public with a little information on how new K-9 recruit Elsa came to the GCPD.
According to a press release from Cpl. Michele Pihera, public information officer with GCPD, Chief Butch Ayers received a letter from Kathy Gestar in June of this year advising of her wish to donate $12,000 to GCPD for the purchase and training of a new K9 recruit for the department, writing, “Moved by the need for additional dogs and equipment, I founded the Cody Fund, named after my beloved Sheltie that passed away in 2008, to support police K9 units in Gwinnett County.”
The donation led to the purchase of Elsa, a Belgian Malinois, who was introduced at the Rotary Club at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce this week during a presentation to Gestar of a framed picture of the new K-9 recruit.
Pihera reports that Elsa and her handler, Officer Dan Larsen, received their initial training from the Tarheel Canine Training in Sanford, NC. Elsa is expected to begin her first shift sometime around February after she receives all her necessary training. She is one of nine dogs in the Gwinnett K9 Unit.
“Each K9 is assigned to a police officer handler. The K9s spend their entire shift with their handler. At the end of their shifts, the K9s go home with and live with the officer and their families. In most cases, they will even spend their retirement with their human partners,” Pihera said, adding, “The bond between Officer Larsen and Elsa is undeniable.”