Donations bring reinforcements to Allentown K-9 corps
At a morning news conference in city council chambers Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell and Police Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. announced new additions to the city police department’s K-9 corps courtesy of donations from three organizations.
Stan and Tina Kanterman, of Somerset, N.J., founders of the nonprofit organization, “Remembering Brian Kanterman Inc.,” announced a $13,500 donation for a patrol/narcotics dog and training, as well as seven weeks of room and board for the handler.
A ballistic vest for the dog was also purchased.
The Kantermans founded their organization in memory of their son, Brian, a Stafford County, Va. police officer who died in the line of duty Dec. 25, 2018.
Stan Kanterman described his son’s dedication to public service after losing his closest friend in a fire, beginning with EMT training at age 15 before becoming a firefighter, deputy sheriff and corrections officer.
“Brian understood the value of K-9s, in crime prevention as well as drug enforcement,” Stan Kanterman said at the Dec. 9, 2019, news conference.
He noted Brian had made one of the largest drug busts in Virginia’s history with the assistance of partners in his department’s K-9 unit.
“The not-for-profit Remembering Brian Kanterman Inc. was founded to keep his spirit of serving and giving alive,” Stan Kanterman said. “In his name, we are pleased to donate a fully-trained K-9 to the Allentown Police Department, in addition to paying the fees for the K-9 handler to stay at the facility, and we have purchased a ballistic vest for the dog once it’s in service.”
Additionally, O’Connell announced J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home will donate $3,000 toward the training of an explosives dog under order from a previous contract.
Sonya Siegfried, supervisor of the funeral home, said the donation would be in memory of 166 individuals whom the home had taken care of in the previous year, including Allentown Police Department K-9 Officer Harley.
Siegfried said the funeral home staff had come to know Harley and his handler, Officer Andrew Fegely, and wished to honor the special bond between the two.
“My staff and I thought what could we do to remember all these special individuals, these 166 people we had taken care of, and we thought nothing better than to put a donation together and donate it in memory of them to the K-9 unit,” Siegfried said. “We saw the special connection that the dog and the officer have, and we are also members of the city.
“It’s important to keep the city safe, and the dog is an integral part of that.”
Siegfried also stated that the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home would also be actively involved with future fundraising to acquire additional K-9 officers for the city.
Finally, the Gail Hoover Foundation, founded by former Allentown City Councilwoman Gail Hoover, will be embarking on a campaign to raise money for a K-9 officer.
Hoover’s organization was established in 2013, raising funds to combat HIV and AIDS, as well as to support animal and pet charities.
Hoover said recent conversations with city council members and Granitz had led to this new fundraising mission for the K-9 corps.
“I’m really proud, really thrilled to say that the first official project of the Gail Hoover Foundation will be to raise money to get us up to full complement in our K-9 officers,” Hoover said. “We’re really looking forward to that.”
She also said the first major fundraising event will be the foundation’s annual birthday bash March 21 at the old Lehigh Valley Club along Hamilton Street.
Granitz thanked the organizations for their donations and dedication to support the Allentown Police Department and expressed appreciation for members of the community who have reached out after the loss of Harley earlier this year.
“I want to say thank you to all the people who have reached out individually since the passing of Harley, which has kind of brought this situation to light,” Granitz said. “So, on behalf of Allentown Police Department, thank you for what everyone has already done.”
He noted the important role the Allentown Police Department’s K-9s played in the community as both protection and role models for the department, serving as “some of the faces of Allentown Police Department to the community.”
Granitz also noted he was excited to get started with the newest additions to the force.
“Our newest officer here in town; he’s got blond hair, big brown eyes, four paws, and he’s going to change the face of what people have come to know of our K-9 unit,” Granitz said. “It’s going to be really exciting to see what we do, so I’m encouraged to go down this road with all of you.”
O’Connell also thanked the organizations for their donations and fundraising efforts, noting the importance of having a complete police force to ensure public safety.
“Our K-9 officers are valuable members of the department. They help our officers be safe and are important contributors to all our investigations,” O’Connell said.