Local race goes to the dogs

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Dozens of runners laced-up to support a group of special four-legged friends Sunday for the Matt Haverkamp 5K Pursuit.

The eighth annual race put on by the Matt Haverkamp Foundation at Spring Grove Cemetery raises money to put K9s in local police departments.

Each stride recognizes the loss of Golf Manor K9 officer Matt Haverkamp who died in an auto accident in 2005.

"It's a remembrance of his life, a celebration," Nancy Haverkamp told FOX19.

"He was a great person," friend Heather Lane said. "[He] would always make someone smile when he walked into the room."

The event also celebrates the new life in the K9s purchased for area police units.

"In this time of tight budgets this is really great that somebody recognizes the value of K9s and how they help the police department which in turn helps the citizens by making the streets safer," emphasized Sgt. Dan Hils of the Cincinnati Police Department.

So far the foundation has helped place 19 K9s in the Tri-state along with training and technology. Each K9 costs approximately $12,000 including required training.

"We are extremely grateful," Mason officer Michael Bishop said.  "I wouldn't be able to be doing my dream job and working in the community that I love if it weren't for the Matt Haverkamp Foundation."

Bishop says his dog Major is a unique tool for his department.

"There's nothing else, no technology can do what he does," Bishop argued.

"They're such a great finding tool whether they're finding the bad guy or finding drugs or finding bombs," Hils echoed.

The foundation gives the gift of man's best friend in memory of a best friend, a brother, and a son.

"It's an awesome feeling to know that we've been able to reach out and to help so many different communities and at the same time know that that's what Matt has done," mother Nancy Haverkamp said.

The foundation will be hosting a golf outing on July 20th. They plan to help place three K9's in local departments in 2013.