BRISTOL - The city is trying to raise $50,000 to buy two police dogs trained in drug detecting - something the mayor believes will help combat the opioid epidemic.
“With such an emphasis on the opioid public health crisis, we are happy to have another initiative to bolster our efforts locally,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “We currently have a task force of over 35 people from all different aspects of our community who have been touched by the crisis. If we have two more dogs trained to track and remove deadly drugs from the street, and thus the distribution networks, that is a win for everyone.”
The effort, called Operation Opioid, will be spearheaded by Philip S. Vonella, a local businessman who will solicit donations to the cause. The two German shepherds would be trained at the Connecticut State Police Academy before hitting the streets of Bristol.
“I have chosen to fully dedicate myself to this initiative and am reaching out to all residents of Bristol to support this cause,” said Vonella. “Every donation, large or small is equally important. Together, we can make a difference.”
“Our K9 teams play a crucial role in our efforts to make the City of Bristol a safer place to live, work and visit,” said Police Chief Brian Gould. “Whether it is searching for narcotics, apprehending suspects and/or conducting missing person’s searches, our K9s and their handlers require extensive training, supplies and veterinary care. This fundraising endeavor from the public helps make this a reality. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Phil Vonella for seeing this through.”
Donations may be made payable to: Bristol Police Department K-9 Fund, c/o Operation Opioid, P.O. Box 113, Bristol, CT 06011-0113.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.