The City of Bridgeport Police Department has added a new tool to help fight crime, Dennis, an explosive detective K-9 dog.
The department was able to obtain Dennis, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, through a donation from Sonitrol Verified Security Systems in memory of its founder, Dennis F. Hickey.
Hickey was a member of the Bridgeport business community for five decades. He founded Sonitrol Security Systems with his wife, Joan Hickey in 1973.
Sonitrol Security started monitoring the security alarms at Central High School in 1976 and today they secure all Bridgeport schools and municipal buildings.
“Dennis Hickey provided Bridgeport Public Schools with a reliable and quality security system for over 40 years," said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. "Through the Hickey family’s generosity, we now have another way to ensure our residents and students are protected every day."
Hickey lost a six month battle with brain cancer in 2016 after a valiant fight, his family said.
After his passing, Mrs. Hickey and their son Jeff Hickey decided to fund the cost of a police dog in his memory.
“My father was passionate about protecting Bridgeport students," said Jeff Hickey. "He dedicated his life to ensure their safety with Sonitrol Security Systems. Funding this dog in my father’s memory is the best thing that I could have done to honor his life."
The Hickey’s donation will cover the cost of the dog, the training, as well as the cost of equipment such as a bulletproof vest. The cost of a trained K-9 would normally cost the department between $15-20,000, the Mayor's Office said.
K-9 Dennis was born in Holland and was being trained as a U.S. Department of Defense contract military dog for Afghanistan. During this preparation, operational assignments were altered and his overseas contract was canceled.
“We are thankful to now have a police K-9 added to our unit especially in honor of a man who dedicated his life to school safety," said Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez. "Having our own K-9 trained in explosive detection saves us precious minutes because we no longer need to rely on the state police to send a K9 from Hartford.”
Sgt. Erick Norton, a 20-year veteran of the Bridgeport Police Department, was chosen as Dennis’ handler. Sgt. Norton is in charge of the K9 Unit and serves as the Executive Officer for the Bridgeport Police Department Emergency Services Unit.
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