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.
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.
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.