Effort underway to support K-9 unit
Ivy Roach knew that after her husband’s death, and after she learned that a family member was the victim of a violent crime, that words would never be enough to show her gratitude to the Union County Sheriff’s Office and all the other police departments in Union County.
Her husband, Shane Roach, passed away from cancer in 2013. He was a sheriff dispatcher for 911.
Roach said he was very ill and was placed in hospice, but local officers treated him like a brother.
During the investigation of the violent crime, they all stepped in and helped as much as they could.
“Those guys are wonderful,” Roach said. “So I wanted to give something back.”
Roach said it’s something she wanted to do for a long time, but she was held back by her own struggles, as she dealt with breast cancer.
Finally, Roach felt it was time to do something. She originally had the idea to sell decals that showed support for local law enforcement and to give the funds to the sheriff’s office.
She called Union County Sheriff Scott Harvel in June to seek his input.
Just two weeks before Roach called, Harvel had been informed that the sheriff’s office was not eligible for a grant they applied for to receive funding for a K-9 unit.
Now, a committee has been formed which has a current main goal to raise funds for a K-9 unit. The unit would be used by all police departments in Union County.
“I see a need for it. We would use it for drug detection and to track. We have a lot of people missing in the Shawnee National Forest,” Harvel said.
The sheriff’s office already knows where they would like to purchase a dog: from Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind. Harvel said they hand-pick their dogs from Europe.
They plan on receiving a green dog, which means the dog will not be trained. The dog will come with a guarantee of two years.
Union County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Eric Ralls would go through a 10-week training course in Springfield, which costs around $2,000. The dog, will cost around $8,000.
The department also has to buy equipment, including a vehicle cage, auto door popper, alarm system, temperature detector and more.
Overall, the committee initially would like to raise $15,000 to get the K-9 unit functioning. They would also like to meet this goal by February 2017.
Roach said she plans to have fundraisers after they reach their goal for maintenance.
“I now have the energy and time and I want to work diligently to continue raising funds,” Roach said.
Harvel said he believes he can work the dog food and vetting bills into his annual budget.
Every evening at the Union County Fair at the Anna City Park this week, the committee is setting up a booth at the sheriff office’s trailer that will be selling several items to show support for local law enforcement and help raise funds for a new K-9 unit.
They will be selling decals, yard signs, window signs, blue rubber bracelets and t-shirts.
For more information about the committee or to learn how to be a part of it, there will be a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m. in the community room at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
Currently there are about 10 members who make up the committee.
There is also a Facebook page called “We Support Our Law Enforcement of Union County, Il.”
There, they post updates on donations, photos of items for sale and information about future fundraising events and meetings.
Donations have already been coming in, even though the committee just recently started and it’s estimated they have raised about $4,000.
Harvel said he’s excited about the support.
“I love it. It’s very helpful. Ivy is a hard worker,” Harvel said.
“This is a Lord-driven project and it came at a good time for me,” Roach said.
To make a donation, mail it to the Union County Sheriff’s Office in Jonesboro and make it out to Union County Sheriff’s Office. In the memo, put K-9 fund.
To purchase items that support law enforcement or to learn more about the committee, call Roach at 697-4293.