Essex County Sheriff’s Office Adding K-9 to Team Through Grant from NFL’s Roethlisberger

Sgt. Scott Sousa and K-9 Patton of the Essex County Sheriff's Office. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knows a thing or two about making sure an NFL team is comprised of the right players—and to that end, he’s making sure the Essex County Sheriff’s Office has the essential personnel to make their K-9 team a success.

On Sunday during a break from the Steelers-Patriots game at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium, the Ohio native awarded Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger’s agency the first 2019 grant from his Giving Back Fund, handing over a $9,000 check to purchase a dog to bolster Coppinger’s K-9 division.

Calling the donation a “nice surprise,” Coppinger tells WHAV the funds come at just the right time, as the agency has three newly appointed K-9 officers starting at the Boston Police K-9 training academy later this month in their effort to get the Sheriff’s Office K-9 division back from 13 teams to Coppinger’s preferred 14.

“Timing-wise, the grant is great. It’s a welcome donation we can really use,” he told WHAV. Currently, the division has three Belgian Malinois, nine German Shepherds and one Labrador Retriever.

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 teams, consisting of one dog and their full-time handler patrol the Middleton House of Corrections, Salisbury women’s facility and Lawrence pre-release center. They also offer support to local cities and towns without K-9 units to carry out missing person or school safety searches, Coppinger said.

Last year alone, The Giving Back Fund distributed more than $145,000 in grants to K-9 units around the country, something Roethlisberger says is the least he can do to help the law enforcement community.

“We’re very fortunate to be in the position that we’re in to help these K-9 units. The work that is performed by the dogs and these handlers as well as the bond that is formed is incredible,” Roethlisberger told WHAV in a statement.

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