By Hannah Gerken
On Sept. 15 at 7:30pm, The Friends in Safe Spaces Tour will grace the stage of Rudder Theater to bring comedy and common sense together. The tour stars Steve “Mudflap” McGraw and Chad Prather, two of America’s top public entertainers. Together they provide two hours of entertainment that will leave both sides of the political spectrum laughing the night away. This event serves as a fundraiser for K9s4COPs, a nationally known nonprofit organization based in College Station.
K9s4COPs was started when founder Kristi Schiller heard the story of Deputy Ted Dahlin of Harris County Sheriff’s Office and his K9 partner, K9 Blek. In the pursuit of three robbery suspects through a densely wooded area, K9 Blek gave his life in the line of duty. This story was shared on the local news and when Schiller found out the department couldn’t afford to provide Deputy Dahlin with a new K9 partner, she knew she needed to help. This led to the birth of K94COPs, the first nonprofit to provide agencies with trained K9 officers.
The mission of K9s4COPs is to ensure that law enforcement officers in need of a K9 is not hindered by limited funding but instead receives a fully trained canine to serve alongside them. With the cost of a K9 officer ranging from $15,000 to $45,000 based on training level, many departments struggle to provide officers with highly trained dogs. These K9 officers are provided to law enforcement agencies, school districts, and college campuses. By donating K9 officers, K9s4COPs is able to allow law enforcement to perform their job faster, safer, and more effectively. Many officers have also had their lives saved by their K9 partner. Studies have shown that a dog team can search an area up to 50 times faster than a human and smell up to 50,000 times better.
Since the inception of K9s4COPs six years ago, 160 K9s have been trained and gifted to 84 law enforcement agencies in 32 different states. These K9 officers have even benefited Texas A&M University. K9 Tyson and K9 Jackie secure the campus and major venues such as Kyle Field and Olsen Field.
It is through fundraising events, such as The Friends in Safe Spaces Tour, and through donations that K9s4COPs is able to provide highly trained K9 officers to departments in need. Find more information on K9s4COPs at www.k9s4cops.org. To purchase tickets for The Friends in Safe Spaces Tour, visit www.boxoffice.tamu.edu or call (979) 845-1234.