WESTPORT, Conn. -- A 19-month-old German Shepherd named Atlas is the newest member of the Westport Police Department K-9 Unit.
The police service dog was acquired from Grasso Shepherds , an organization that imports and trains European German Shepherds.
Atlas and his handler, Officer David Scinto, will begin training this month to become certified as a Patrols/Narcotics Detection Canine in October, said police.
"The Westport Police Canine Unit has been around since the early '80’s and Atlas joins two other dog teams currently on the Westport Police Department," said Lt. Ryan Paulsson of the Training Division.
This third addition is a response to the recent increase in drug abuse and heroin overdoses in the area, the release said.
Adding “Atlas” better enables the department to enforce current drug laws, police said.
Also, starting in early September, Westport police officers will be issued Narcan, the emergency treatment for known or suspected opioid overdose, according to police.
The K9 Unit receives no town funding, rather since its inception hs relied on community donations.
Donors include Dr. Joan Poster, of the Poster Animal Hospital and Bill Mitchell, of Mitchell’s of Westport, said police.
With the addition of Atlas, the Westport Police Department is asking the public's help in raising funds to cover the costs associated with his training, equipment and care, according to police.
The Westport Police Department has set up a GoFundMe page to raise $15,000 to cover his costs, said police.
Donations can be sent to Westport Police Department K9 Unit , 50 Jesup Road, Westport CT 06880·