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      Marquette PD push for K9 funding

      The Marquette Police Department has unveiled a new public campaign initiative aimed at raising money for additional K9 units.

      "The scary part now is we're seeing a real increase in meth," said Blake Rieboldt, patrol captain for the Marquette Police Department.

      A growing trend of drug-related crime throughout Marquette County has law enforcement seeking a new strategy.

      "There's no doubt that more and more of what we're involved in law enforcement today is related somehow to some drug activity," said Mike Angeli, Chief of the Marquette Police Department.

      To combat this, the Marquette police wants to expand its K9 units with two more dogs. This would allow their current nine-year-old dog, Nero, to retire.

      "One of the deterrents of people in the city of Marquette is our aggressive stance towards drugs, one of which is our K9," Rieboldt explained.

      Belgium shepherds are trained specifically in drug detection, but their skill set comes at a high price. The department sent a proposal to the city commission, requesting permission to launch a public campaign to raise funds for the two dogs.

      "With the way the budget is right now and the revenue sharing and the cuts going throughout the state of Michigan, it's hard to fund these special projects," Rieboldt said.

      Following the approval of the commission last week, Chief of Police Mike Angeli wrote a letter to the public asking for contributions. The department estimates between $20,000 and $25,000 will be needed to cover the cost of the animals and the training of officers.

      "This community has always been supportive and recognized the need," said Angeli, "but I don't want to necessarily place the whole burden on them."

      According to the police, money from the forfeiture fund or the money collected through drug-related crimes will also be used to fund the K9 units.

      The campaign is expected to last through mid-February.