High schooler raises money for K-9 Department

Feb 6, 2019

When Ben Souza was told that he could work on any project for one class period a week, he instantly knew what he wanted to do: raise money to help the Dartmouth Police Department.

Souza, a junior at Dartmouth High School, was motivated to help out the police because of the work they do for communities. As an animal lover, Souza is particularly interested in the K-9 unit.

“If you really think about it, they spend a lot of time protecting us,” Souza said. “Without us funding them, they’re going to have outdated equipment.”

Souza said that much of the funding for the K9 department comes from donors. The K-9 unit is very expensive to run: the cost of obtaining and training a dog, purchasing equipment like vests, cameras, and apps, and being able to retire dogs is high.

The Dartmouth Police Department will be retiring a dog in the next year or so, and will need to get a new dog.

Souza launched a GoFundMe to collect donations to help defray the cost of the new dog and any equipment it might need. He has been in touch with the police department, who have taught him about what the dogs do for the department, including everything from finding drugs to assisting with tracking, searching articles, buildings, and areas, controlling crowds and apprehending suspects. The dogs are also trained to detect narcotics and explosives.

According to the Police Department’s website, the K-9 teams train twice a month to maintain their skills and certifications.

Souza has been in touch with the police department to learn more about what the dogs do and what they need to be successful.

“I was kind of welcomed in like an old friend,” Souza said. He said that his involvement has quickly grown from a school project to a project he is passionate about.

Souza is now brainstorming other ways to spread the word, including a potential skit or K-9 demonstration. The project will run through May.

To donate to Souza’s GoFundMe, go to www.gofundme.com/vest039s-for-k9-officers-of-dartmouth-ma.