BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A nonprofit that purchases K9s for Tri-State police departments took in critical funds at an event in West Chester Sunday.
The Matt Haverkamp Foundation was established in 2005 in honor of its namesake police officer who passed away the same year as a result of injuries he sustained in a car accident.
“He was a good time, funny, always there for you no matter what,” Foundation President Heather Lane said. “He was very dedicated.”
A graduate of Colerain High School and the University of Cincinnati, Haverkamp later founded the Golf Manor Police Department’s bicycle patrol and K9 Unit. He and his partner, Tibo, had “a significant impact on the community’s safety,” the foundation says.
Recently, the foundation purchased its 70th K9. In its 15 years in existence, it has raised more than $500,000.
A trained K9, the foundation says, can cost law enforcement agencies as much as $14,000.
“It’s important for me to keep his memory alive and keep it going,” Lane said. “That was his love.”
To fund its K9 purchases, the foundation holds events like a 5K and a golf outing, as well as its annual chili cookoff, hosted Sunday at Grainworks Brewery.
The event brought police departments together and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the cause.
It was also a lot of fun.
“We like to bring a mindset of, ‘If you’re not first, you’re last,'” Golf Manor Lt. Michael Forrest, a K9 handler, said.
But Springfield Township K9 Officer Deshawn Brooks knows there’s good consolation for “last”-place finishers.
“We made chili,” Brooks said. “We didn’t win, but we made chili.”
These officers also know the importance behind the event. From tracking down suspects to sniffing out drugs to finding evidence and possibly saving lives, K9s are an invaluable part of many departments.
“It’s an incredible resource,” Forrest said.