The City of Bridgeport Police DepartmentÂ 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 fromÂ Sonitrol Verified SecurityÂ Systems in memory of its founder, Dennis F.Â Hickey.
Hickey was a member of theÂ Bridgeport business community for fiveÂ decades. He founded Sonitrol SecurityÂ Systems with his wife, Joan Hickey in 1973.
Sonitrol Security started monitoring the security alarms at Central High School in 1976 andÂ today they secure all Bridgeport schools and municipal buildings.
âDennis Hickey provided Bridgeport Public Schools with a reliable and quality security systemÂ for over 40 years,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. “Through the Hickey familyâs generosity, we now have another way to ensureÂ 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 dogÂ in his memory.
âMy father was passionate about protecting Bridgeport students,” said Jeff Hickey. “He dedicated hisÂ life to ensure their safety with Sonitrol Security Systems. Funding this dog in my fatherâsÂ memory is the best thing that I could have done to honor his life.”
The Hickeyâs donation will cover the cost of the dog, the training, as well as the cost ofÂ equipment such as aÂ bulletproof vest. The cost of a trained K-9 would normally cost theÂ 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 contractÂ military dog for Afghanistan. During this preparation, operational assignments were altered andÂ his overseas contract was canceled.
âWe are thankful to now have a police K-9 added to ourÂ unit especially in honor of a man who dedicated his life to school safety,” saidÂ Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez. “Having our own K-9Â trained in explosive detection saves us precious minutes because we no longer need to rely on theÂ state police to send a K9 from Hartford.â
Sgt. Erick Norton, a 20-year veteran of the Bridgeport Police Department, was chosen asÂ Dennisâ handler. Sgt. Norton is in charge of the K9 Unit and serves as the Executive Officer forÂ the Bridgeport Police Department Emergency Services Unit.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice’s free daily emails and news alerts.