The Bozeman Police Department has applied for a Montana Department of Justice grant for a new K9 unit.
K9 Officer Roman from the Bozeman Police Department has recently retired, leaving the department in need of a new canine unit. Announced on Aug. 10, a $300,000 grant program was announced to help Montana law enforcement agencies tackle illegal drug operations.
“We knew that if the recreation marijuana initiative were to pass. One thing a lot of Montanans weren’t aware of was that it was going to render our fleet of K9 officers obsolete… Those dogs don’t differentiate between methamphetamine and marijuana,” Montana Attorney Austin Knudsen said in announcing the grant program.
Instead of sending canines to an early retirement, this grant can be used to retrain existing K9 officers, Knudsen said. Departments may also use this grant to replace existing units or put money toward a new dog.
The Bozeman Police Department prefers to have two K9 units to work opposing shifts of each other, Deputy Chief Andy Knight said. K9 officer Roman’s retirement did not involve an inability to track illegal narcotics, but injuries such as a torn bicep tendon, Officer Ian Anderson said.
“We still have one current working dog…that dog is very active. In the last couple of years, that dog has been deployed over 120 times,” Knight said.
Agencies may apply by Sept. 15, 2021, for up to $10,000, and if there is any remaining funds, they may apply a second time for additional funds.
“We have applied for the grant, to help offset the cost of a new K9 unit…the price can vary, but typically a dog can cost anywhere around $12,000. This is because of their extensive training,” Knight said.