“My daughter says she can get her hands on anything at her school, if she wanted,” Colby-Abbotsford Police Chief Jason Bauer heard a parent of a Colby-Abbotsford high school student say of the school from which Bauer’s children graduated.
The Colby-Abbotsford Police Department confirms the use of heroin, methamphetamine and misused prescription drugs in the community, and is aware of the increase in drug use in its schools. Over the past six months, the Police Department has rallied the community’s support around building a K-9 Unit with an accompanying investigator to fill requests of local schools and businesses for canine searches, give educational demonstrations and stop drug use in youth before it becomes addiction.
Security Health Plan is investing $1,000 in the Police Department’s efforts to improve the health of our children and communities through its monthly Employee-Driven Corporate Giving campaign. “One of Security Health Plan’s visions is to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. What a great opportunity for us to address a specific law-enforcement need in our community to make it a healthier, safer place to live and work,” said Security Health Plan Business Configuration Manager and wife of Chief Bauer, Stephanie Bauer. Stephanie has actively volunteered for the Police Department’s K-9 Unit fundraising efforts, and submitted the nomination on its behalf.
The Police Department had a K-9 Unit in the past, but the canine was transferred to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and has been missed since. With the return of the unit (anticipated in the spring), the Police Department is assigning Officer Jim Wagner to act as the Department’s canine handler. An assigned investigator will follow-up on any arrests made with the help of the canine.
The donation will go towards the $53,500 needed to fund the canine, handler training, fully equipping a K-9 squad, and the yearly cost of food and vet bills. The Police Department has now met its start-up fundraising goal, but will continue to request support for the annual $2,500 needed for upkeep of the canine and unit equipment.
The program is close to the Bauers’ hearts, whose children attended the Colby-Abbotsford high school when the previous K-9 Unit was still in place. Chief Bauer remembers its positive impact on one youth who was caught with marijuana and later became a jailer, instead of an inmate. “The long-term impact on our community is huge. If we can stop drug use early, we can prevent addiction and associated health problems, increase productivity of the community’s members, and lower the cost of healthcare for everyone,” said Chief Bauer.
Every month, Security Health Plan invests $1,000 as part of its Employee-Driven Corporate Giving campaign. Marshfield Clinic Health System employees are encouraged to nominate an organization that it is making a positive difference in the community.