Who is eligible for Stanton K9 grants?

The Foundation’s grants are available to any municipal police department in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont or Maine that does not currently have a K9 unit. The grants are not intended to provide additional dogs to existing units, nor to replace dogs that are nearing retirement or recently retired (i.e. the department has had a K9 unit within the last 5 years). The Stanton Foundation offers grants for departments who have successfully operated one K9 unit to add a second. The Foundation is looking for a commitment of five years from departments and handler candidates. If you have a question regarding your eligibility, you are encouraged to contact the Foundation directly.

Does the grant cover all the costs of a K9 unit?

The grant’s model budget (available on the Resources page) is designed to cover all the hard costs of integrating a dog into the department. Patrol school for the handler and dog are full time programs lasting 10-14 weeks where the handler will need to travel to the training facility and will be unavailable to the department for normal duties. The Foundation grant allows departments to be reimbursed up to $1,100 for every week of patrol school that the handler is unavailable to the department. These funds are reimbursed to the department after confirmation that the handler and dog have successfully completed the training program. The town is responsible for personnel costs in excess of $1,100 per week.

Additionally, the Foundation will provide a flat reimbursement of $4,500 once the unit completes secondary training. The funds are reimbursed to the department after confirmation that the unit has successfully completed the training.

If my K9 cannot immediately attend patrol or secondary training, are we still eligible for reimbursement?

The Foundation understands that it may take some time for the unit to attend both patrol and secondary training, but also feels strongly that the K9 be trained as immediately as possible to be an asset for his community. So, in order to be eligible for patrol or secondary training reimbursement, both courses must be completed and confirmations provided to the Foundation within two (2) years of receiving the initial start-up grant of $32,000.

What are the annual costs for a K9 unit once it is active?

Annual costs associated with the K9 vary from department to department. The grant covers the projected costs of food and veterinary care for the first three years of operation only. Ongoing compensation for the handler is the department’s responsibility. See issues of Fair Labor Standards Act compliance and the Garcia Decision, for more detail.

What is the selection process for the handler position?

The Stanton Foundation recognizes that every police department is different, and employs different systems for selecting specialty positions. Departments are encouraged to follow any pre-existing specialty assignment protocols within their department to select a candidate. Once a decision is made, the Foundation will have an experienced police K9 trainer conduct a final interview to ensure the chosen handler candidate understands the commitment he/she is accepting. Some things to keep in mind for prospective candidates: Police K9s bond with handlers and cannot be easily transferred (certainly not more than once in its lifetime); the Foundation asks for a five year commitment from the handler; the average working life of a K9 is 8-9 years; the dog lives with the handler and his/her family; a handler and dog will need to attend patrol school full time for 10-14 weeks with continued in-service training on average two days per month.

Where do the dogs come from and who trains them?

K9 trainers typically work with an established group of vendors for “green dogs” that are bred for working lives. These dogs are generally either German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds or Belgian Malinois. Once training is arranged, the trainers will be able to help your department select a dog. Foundation grant recipients attend training schools with the Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, Maine State Police, Berkshire County Sheriff’s office, Hillsboro, NH Police Department or the Rhode Island K-9 Academy; depending on the department’s location and availability. Patrol school is a full time program that typically lasts 10-14 weeks. The handler and dog master skills in obedience, aggression control, tracking and searches. Specialty certification for narcotics, ballistics or accelerants is typically conducted 8-9 months after completing patrol school.

“My department would like a dog for narcotics help, but a shepherd seems too heavy handed. Can we get a friendly Labrador?”

The Stanton Foundation initiated the K9 program to provide a highly visible face for the potential of the human/dog bond. We believe in providing community law enforcement with the best possible resources for their investment. The presence of a dual certified K9 unit (patrol/specialty) provides a multi-faceted force multiplier to each department and provides the best opportunity to showcase the greatest good a K9 can provide to any community. For this reason the Foundation asks that its grant recipients attend patrol school and then seek a specialty certification after the first year. Since Labradors cannot attend patrol school, the Foundation’s grants cannot support them as police K9s.

May my unit attend explosives detection school?

A unit may attend and be reimbursed for explosives detection school as its secondary training if the police department in which it is housed has an affiliation with a bomb squad. Please provide the Foundation with proof of bomb squad affiliation prior to attending explosives detection school.

Does the Foundation require any formal reporting from its K9 hander or department?

Yes. A department's reporting requirements begin once the K9 has graduated from patrol school. So, K9s graduating in a fall class will enter their reporting period on January 1 of the following year, while K9s graduating in a spring class will enter their reporting period on July 1 of the same year. For the first year of the unit's operation, the department must send 4 separate quarterly reports including both activity and financial information using the Foundation's template available on our Resources page.

For fall class K9s, that means we need reports for the first year covering the following dates:

Report 1: January 1-March 31

Report 2: April 1-June 30

Report 3: July 1-September 30

Report 4: October 1-December 31

For all spring class K9s, that means we need reports for the first year covering the following dates:

Report 1: July 1-September 30

Report 2: October 1-December 31

Report 3: January 1-March 31

Report 4: April 1-June 30

After the unit has completed its first year, reporting is required annually for the following 3 years. Each department's annual report will be due on either January 1 or July 1, depending on when it graduated patrol school.

In summary, over the course of its life, the unit must provide the Stanton Foundation with 7 reports; 4 during its first year, and 1 each year for 3 subsequent years.

Is there an application deadline?

No, we review applications on a rolling basis.

What can my patrol/secondary school reimbursements be used for?

The patrol and secondary school reimbursements are intended to help cover the costs of back filling a handler's position while she/he is training. If your department has sufficiently budgeted to cover their time, the reimbursements may also be deposited into a K9 account and used to offset future K9 expenses. The reimbursements may not be used for any other purposes.

I have a young pet German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd. May I train it for police work?

Whether a dog can be trained for police work is completely at the discretion of the lead trainer at each training site. If you have questions about whether a dog can be trained, the best resource is the lead trainer.

How do we source a dog for use as a K9?

Typically, departments work with the lead trainer at their training site to source a dog from an appropriate breeder. Often, the lead trainer will help the department select a dog that will suit their needs and is well-suited for police work.

My department has received cost estimates for expenses listed in the model budget, but they are higher or lower than the amount in the model budget. What should I do?

The Foundation's expert advisory panel created and regularly reviews the model budget to estimate K9 expenses. The Foundation understands that actual costs may vary to a certain extent.

My department would like to use grant funds to purchase an item that is not listed in the model budget. May it do so?

If the department has a K9 specific need and that need is not accounted for in the model budget, please reach out to the Foundation to discuss it further.

My department has secured donated items for our K9. Will my department's grant be adjusted downward?

No. If a department engages its community and secures donated materials or labor to support the K9, any funds allocated for those items may be reserved and used toward future K9 expenses in the department's K9 account.