After relying on outside agencies for a drug detection dog, local law enforcement is trying to buy their own

by: KEVIN SPERL - Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley (RIGHT), along with Deputy Mitch Madden, announces the 'Dollars for a Dog' campaign to raise funds for obtaining a drug detecting dog.

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office has announced its “Dollars for a Dog” campaign, hoping to raise $25,000 to acquire a drug detection dog and train its handler.

“Currently the sheriff’s office and the Prineville Police Department heavily rely upon outside agencies for the assistance of drug detection K9’s,” said Deputy Mitch Madden.

Covering almost 3,000 square miles, Madden noted that the sheriff’s office’s jurisdiction includes U.S. and state highways 26, 370, 126, and 27, with all of them connecting to U.S. Highway 97, identified as one of the top drug trafficking routes in Oregon.

“The use of a trained K-9 is one of the most effective tools in combating drugs,” explained Madden, “The large majority of person and property crimes that occur within Crook County are related to illegal drugs.”

The campaign hopes to foster active involvement from the community in crime prevention, raise money for the purchase and training of the K9 and the necessary dog and vehicle equipment modifications, and to maintain funds to sustain the program in the future.

Madden anticipated costs for the K9 would include $7,000 for the trained dog, $2,500 for K9 handler training, $2,200 for vehicle-related equipment, $75 for a K9 leash, collar and harness, and $300 for annual food costs.

Crestview Cable and the Prineville Police are partnering with the sheriff’s office to sponsor several fundraising and media promotion events.

Crestview’s General Manager Mike O’Herron has joined forces with Madden to form a fundraising committee, along with his employees Brett Goodman and Audrey Gautney.

“On Saturday, May 3, we will sponsor a ‘Fill the Bowl’ event,” said O’Herron. “Deputies and police officers will be out on the streets accepting donations.”

O’Herron wants residents to know that all money collected will be used to fund, and maintain, the program as a nonprofit entity, and will not become part of the county’s general fund.

Prineville resident Starla Sprague is doing her part to support the program, giving Madden proceeds from her sale of eggs.

“I think it’s important for them to have a dog,” she said, “I just want to help them out.”

Sheriff Jim Hensley noted that there were only two K9’s in Central Oregon, with both of them located in Deschutes County.

“Time is of the essence when a K9 is needed,” he said, “We believe that having our own K9 is vital to the community.”

County District Attorney Daina Vitolins agreed, citing recent drug activity that has been encountered by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Unit that covers Jefferson, Deschutes and Crook counties.

“In the first two months of this year, that unit has seized over 1,500 grams of meth, 2,600 grams of marijuana and 368 grams of cocaine,” she said. “We have also had two drug overdoses in our county in the past month, with one of them resulting in a death.”

For Madden, the K9 will also act as a deterrent.

“Those that deal in drugs know where the dogs are,” he said, “Having our own dog sends the message that drugs are not welcome here.”

Contact Deputy Mitch Madden with questions or for more information at 541 447- 6398, or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Donations may be made via PayPal at the department’s website at (click on the “Friends of K-9” link), or can be mailed to Friends of K-9, 308 N.E. Third St., Prineville, OR 97754.

For a copy of the Crook County Friends of K9 brochure go to

The campaign also has a Facebook page at

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