Gainesville police to recognize K-9 donors


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gainesville Police Department has purchased a new K-9 with donations from two community partners.

K-9 Ares, an 18-month old German Shepherd / Belgain Malinois mix, was purchased from Southern Coast K-9 in New Smyrna Beach.

The cost of the dog was $8,500, which was financed by the Paris family with McDonald's of Gainesville and the Rousseau family with Rousseau Enterprises. The donations allowed GPD to purchase the dog without using any tax dollars.

The training process for a new dog and handler is very rigorous. Both must complete a 480-hour basic course, which will prepare them for the various and unpredictable situations they will encounter. Their training continues weekly for the remainder of their career as a team. K-9 Ares and his handler, Officer Pat Hopkins, completed their basic training and were certified by the National Police Canine Association in March and have been working road patrol as a team since then. They are certified in patrol work, and are working toward certification in narcotics detection.

Police agencies use professional kennels such as Southern Coast to ensure that the best possible animal is chosen for the job. Dogs purchased from these kennels have very little training, but have shown the qualities that are necessary for working dogs.

Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones offered his thanks to the donors who helped purchase K-9 Ares.

“I am so proud to be the chief of a community that chooses to support their local police department,” Jones said. “With the funds provided by the Paris and Rousseau families, GPD was able to put another K-9 team into service without any cost to the taxpayers. This new K-9 team will do great things for our city.”

Representatives from GPD’s K-9 unit, including Hopkins, K-9 Ares, the unit supervisor and the unit trainer will
recognize members of both the Rousseau and Paris families at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at GPD headquarters.