EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — The East Dubuque Police Department is looking to make a four-legged addition to the force.

East Dubuque police have begun raising money for creation of a K-9 unit, which will require $80,000 to $110,000 to purchase and train the dog and obtain necessary equipment such as a special squad car.

Jake Peacock, a police officer with the department, is leading the effort, saying the city’s unique location would make a dog’s detection and defense skills a valuable asset to the community.

“A lot of drugs are trafficked from Chicago to Iowa, and East Dubuque is right there dead in the middle,” he said. “We want to use the dog to its full potential. That can include searches, missing person searches, apprehension and locating narcotics.”

Peacock said the primary purpose of the K-9 unit would be for detecting drugs and narcotics, along with providing additional protection for officers.

The exact price of developing the K-9 unit will depend on how much the department raises, which will determine how much equipment officials can purchase, he said.

East Dubuque isn’t the first small community in Jo Daviess County to adopt a canine unit recently. In 2019, the Galena Police Department trained and adopted its own police dog.

Peacock said East Dubuque police already use trained dogs from nearby police departments, including Galena and Dubuque, and the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department. However, requests for those units can be frequent, and police dogs are not always available.

“The amount of time we have used other dogs, you would think that we would have a K-9,” Peacock said.

Mayor Kirk VanOstrand said the city previously had a K-9 unit, but the officer who handled the dog left the city 12 years ago. The unit was never renewed.

“We used to have one, and it was really helpful,” he said. “I think it would be a great addition.”

At the moment, the police department is relying entirely on donations to fund the creation of the K-9 unit.

“We don’t want this to be something that is put on the taxpayers,” Peacock said.

“Right now, we are working to kick-start it with fundraising.”

However, VanOstrand said he would be open to potentially committing city funds to the project as well.

“Eventually, we are going to need to budget for the canine,” he said. “I believe that we would consider putting some funding into the project.”

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