Estes Park police ask for help from community, tourists in funding new K-9 unit

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ESTES PARK, Colo. -- More than 3 million people visit Estes Park each year. Police are preparing to add a K-9 unit to the force to keep everyone safe.

"We want to maintain our image of being a safe community," said Police Chief Wes Kufeld.

Officer Mikel Otazua, who will be the department's first K-9 handler, says the dogs are dependable investigators and trusted partners that send a strong message.

"We want people to know we have a dog up here, don’t pass through Estes Park with bad intentions or with drugs, because we’ll catch you," said Otazua.

The police department will need $80,000 to start the program, which includes housing and protective gear.

Police are asking the community and tourists to chip in, and many are responding with support.

Since the program's announcement earlier this month, officers have raised approximately $5,000.  If you would like to contribute, visit the Estes Park website.

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