Do you like helping children? How about helping animals?
You can sink two birdies with one stroke at the 10th annual Newberry Township Police Golf Tournament, set for Friday, July 5, at Valley Green Golf Course.
Half the tournament proceeds will go to the police department's Teaching Educating And Mentoring (TEAM) school liaison program, in which officers go to local elementary schools to promote responsible citizenship, encourage positive character traits and warn students about drugs and poor choices.
The rest of the money raised will offset training costs incurred by Tazer, the department's K-9, and his human partner, Officer Chris Martinez.
Participants will receive a continental breakfast, lunch and adult beverages, and awards will be given out as well. There will be door prizes, snacks and small games of chance.
Weather permitting, people can watch a K-9 demonstration by Tazer, a 31/2-year-old German shepherd originally from the Czech Republic.
"Everyone loves to see the police dog bite the bad guy," Martinez quipped.
Costly training: Martinez said he and Tazer attend mandatory training sessions twice a month to maintain their state K-9 certification, at an annual cost of about $1,800 a year.
"It's very expensive," he said.
The $13,000 needed to acquire Tazer was raised through community donations; his food is donated by Walmart and all his veterinary care is donated by Valley Green Veterinary Hospital, according to Martinez.
Proceeds from the golf tournament mean taxpayers don't have to foot the bill for the K-9 training, he said.
Unlike some K-9 dogs, Tazer performs more than one job.
"He's considered a cross-trained, dual-purpose narcotics/patrol K-9," Martinez said. "He identifies drugs, tracks suspects, apprehends suspects, protects me, and searches buildings."
Strong bond: Martinez said he and Tazer have a tight partnership.
"I'm with him sometimes more than I'm with my family," he said. "That bond is amazing."
In previous years, the department held its golf tournament in May to raise funds for Tazer, then held a 5K race in September to raise money for its TEAM program. This year, the July golf tournament replaces both events.
Registration is $75 per player and $300 for a foursome. Sponsors are also being sought, but an individual doesn't have to be a sponsor to play in the tournament, Martinez said.
Go to newberrypd.org to download the registration form, or to learn more about the tournament and programs.
Anyone with questions can call Newberry Township Police at (717) 938-2608.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.