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Dogs are "encouraged to bring their owners" to the York County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit fundraiser 5K Run/Walk/Wag Event on Saturday, Sept. 23 — and maybe even dress up.

There is a costume contest for both dogs and owners, with a prize for each during the event at John C. Rudy County Park, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

The contest is an element of fun that represents the community spirit event organizer Lt. David Godfrey hopes to see at the event.

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This is the first 5K the sheriff's office is holding to support the K-9 unit, and it started as just another fundraiser, but when the focus shifted to the community, it just got bigger and bigger from there, Godfrey said.

"Us being in touch with the community and the community relating to us is very important, " Godfrey said.  "They need to know we have their backs, and we need to know they have our backs. It helps build the bond between the community and law enforcement."

 

The day will include a remembrance ceremony for officers who died in the line of duty, a child fingerprinting station and display of emergency vehicles, including the county crime scene van, the York County Quick Response Team BearCat vehicle, three firetrucks and a helicopter — all of which kids can climb into and have their pictures taken.

"Maybe it's the big kid in me, but getting the chopper landing there was pretty cool," Godfrey said.

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It's a highlight for York County-related law enforcement, Godfrey said.

But the community day will  have plenty of non-law enforcement-related vendors such as Utz, Frito-Lay, Mission BBQ, Brown's Orchards and Maple Donuts, offering food and treats for dogs. 

Kids can enjoy face painting, a bounce house and celebrity appearances by former Baltimore Orioles and MLB pitcher and NBA player Mark Hendrickson — who will be signing autographs 9:30-10:30 a.m. — and Chester Cheetah.

The 5K begins at 8 a.m. with the walk starting a half hour later. The top three runners, walkers and children will  receive prizes.

The heroes of the day, the K-9 officers, will be there for meet and greets, photos and a demonstration of what they can do. The K-9 demo will include an article search — in which the dogs will find items as small as an earring back — and a gun or bomb search. 

Lt. Lou: The fundraiser also marks the last scheduled public appearance for K-9 Lt. Lou, who will be retiring Oct. 19. 

Lou served for nine and a half years, completed more than 100 searches and was "a very hard worker," Godfrey said. He will live with his handler, Sgt. Samuel Shipley.

Godfrey doesn't know what to expect for attendance, but he was told he'd be lucky to see 100 participants in the first year of a 5K. But 100 have already registered, so the sheriff's office already reached the initial goal.

"It's a lot more than just a 5K, " Godfrey said. He encouraged the community to come out to the event, even if they don't do the run, and see what the county has to offer.

If You Go:

What: York County Sheriff's Office K-9 Fundraiser and Community Event Day

Where: John C. Rudy County Park, 400 Mundis Race Road, Mount Wolf

When: 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23

Cost: $20 adult registration for run/walk, $10 for kids

Preregistration: Contact dmgodfrey@yorkcountypa.gov

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