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Op Ed: Pennies for Police Dogs Needs Your Support

Novato resident Toni Shroyer urges support for Novato's K-9 unit to raise $2,500 by October 1 to pay for narcotics training for dogs, Ingo and Lex.

MY YOUTH

I was recently asked why I was so passionate about Novato’s K-9 unit and made such an effort fundraising for them. The answer goes back to my childhood in West Marin.   

I  lived across the street from a slumlord who allowed rampant drug dealing to go on in his five-unit complex.  One summer, I watched what seemed like an endless parade of people, including ‘tweens’ and teens, coming and going all day long, jumping out of their cars and counting their money before they knocked on the door to make a “score.”

Even at a very young age, I was amazed that nobody did anything about it. It just went on and on.  But I had had enough. So once, when I saw a deputy sheriff driving by, I flagged him down and gave him an earful. Within a month the drug dealing was shut down and I learned a valuable lesson: Things can change if we just take action. 

Most people tend to think about drug dealing and the devastating effects of drug use as something that only happens in “bad” neighborhoods in the inner city, not here in beautiful Novato. But they’re wrong. 

LOST FRIENDS
I’ve watched many of my classmates, kids I grew up with since kindergarten, have had their lives destroyed by drugs. Instead of going to weddings, I was attending funerals. A dear friend died in the early 1990s of HIV from shooting up with dirty needles. Two other classmates committed suicide while high on drugs. At 18 years old another classmate killed then raped an elderly woman while strung out on drugs. He’s now serving time in state prison. Yet another has overdosed many times and is still in and out of rehab.  One classmate became a prostitute to feed her drug habit and no one knows if she’s dead or alive. And another is now losing his teeth from years of meth use and is constantly in and out of jail for petty crimes. Drug problems affect us all. 

OUR COMMUNITY
We can’t change the past, but we can try to change the future. For every drug dealer we take off the streets many promising lives can be saved.  And one of the most effective ways we can do this is by supporting the Novato Police K-9 Unit.   

The dogs of the Novato Police Department are what’s known as “force multipliers,” which means that they increase the effectiveness, many times over, of police efforts to stop drug dealing in Novato. They serve as invaluable partners to our police officers on patrol and they have such a keen since of smell that they can sniff out narcotics almost anywhere within seconds.

Last year when a perpetrator in Southern Novato refused to yield to police, it was his trusted police dog that ran after the suspect and detained him.   

Pennies for Police Dogs was founded in 2011 to help raise funds for the Novato Police Dogs when a nine-year-old donated his pennies so the city could purchase its third police dog, Lex.  Since then we’ve continue to raise funds to for the other two dogs, Metz and Ingo.  Enough funds have been raised for Metz to complete narcotics training.   

Pennies for Police Dogs urgently needs to raise approximately $2,500 by Oct. 1 to help pay for narcotics training for Ingo and Lex. We are doing everything we can to help this vital program continue to be the great success it’s become. But we can’t do it without your help. So please, consider making a donation now. Any amount will be greatly appreciated.   

It’s amazing what your spare change can do.  We hear a lot of bad news these days but we need to remember: Things can change if we just take action. 

Please send donations to: 

Novato Police Dogs 
Attn: Chief Jim Berg, K-9 Unit 
909 Machin Ave. 
Novato Ca 94945

Or drop of donations at  at 1400 Grant Avenue or  at 7546 Redwood Blvd.

JFKM August 16, 2012 at 05:14 AM
The kids at the Feed Store were selling some peacock feathers for the K-9's. I was impressed so I bought a bunch and emptied my pockets into the green cup with the police dog flag.
Tina McMillan August 16, 2012 at 06:53 AM
Toni: Thank you for all your efforts to make Novato a safer community. Pennies for Police Dogs proves we can make a difference. Like you, over the years I lost friends and family to drug and alcohol abuse. As the drugs have gotten stonger their impact has been more frightening. Teenagers think that because they are experimenting with pharmaceuticals there is little risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, the dangers associated with OxyContin abuse are mind numbing. http://oxywatchdog.com/tag/teen-deaths/ The Square use to be a vibrant West Novato shopping center. Now it is place where people buy and sell drugs. As far as I can tell the owner makes no effort to fill the long vacant Bell Market or many of the smaller adjacent shops. His neglect of the center has caused many store owners to leave. It is heartbreaking to see the Square turned into a ghost town and a haven for drug dealers. http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_21105019/novatos-pennies-police-dogs-seeks-donations-narcotics-training We have to start by acknowledging there is a problem. I don't know how the Novato crime statistics are calculated but in my experience substance use among our children is on the rise and there is insufficient progress being made to stop it. Denial is still the biggest problem with regard to crime. Unless we are willing to see what is going on around us we can't make it any better.
Trish Boorstein August 16, 2012 at 05:01 PM
What a heartfelt wonderfully written account. I too lost my brother to an addiction started with high school drinking. If police dogs are more intimidating and can help chase down a perp or frighten them to freeze, then it's so worth having them in our town. I'll give again next month. Let's help Novato gain a great police canine reputation, then hopefully criminals will think twice about coming here.
Harold H. August 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Everyone in Novato needs to read Tony Shroyer’s blog about the need for Novato Police K-9 units. She shares experiences that touch all of us and others we know. Drugs and crime are a problem, especially in Novato’s affordable housing developments. These places drain our resources and expose our police to added danger. Novato is queued up to get more “developments.” If you have children in school here, or you plan to retire in Novato, the police K-9 units are an invaluable part of our law enforcement, especially as Novato’s budget continues to hemorrhage. Novato is cursed with leadership that suffers from myopic vision and poor math skills. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take positive action that yields real results -- we don’t need one of Michael Frank’s expensive consultants to study the K-9 units. They work. Most of Novato’s police officers are happy to talk about their pooches and the vital roles they fill. Please follow through on the eloquent request by Ms. Shroyer and contribute, generously, to Novato’s K-9 units.
C. Keating August 23, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Everyone support Pennies for Police Dogs as it is a great program!

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