Officer Sean Keller, handler of the department's lone canine, Ajax, is the focus of a crowdfunding effort through GoFundMe.com, which kicked off efforts on New Year's Day. With a goal to raise $3,500, the department's crowdfunding effort is going very well. On Monday, Day 5 of the effort, the site states that funds in the amount of $2,415 has already been raised.
Crowdfunding is a collective effort of people who network and pool their money, many times using the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.
On the site, found at http://www.gofundme.com/5zsofg, a video of Ajax and Officer Keller can be seen. The video shows Ajax's law enforcement agility and also his tender side, being pet and nuzzled by two young girls.
A written plea that outlines Keller's effort is also readable and a daily progress report showing donation tallies scrolls down the page.
For every $50 contribution, a donor will a free T-shirt and any donations exceeding $100 will result in the donor receipt of both the T-Shirt and a Challenge Coin, according to the site.
According to the website statement, the purpose of the drive is to balance the expenses that the department will incur that it simply doesn't have during these tough economic times for municipalities.
"The purpose of our fundraising efforts here on GoFundMe is to purchase and provide Ajax and Officer Keller with the training equipment they need to succeed on the job. Be it leashes, harnesses, or the various protective training equipment such as bite sleeves and bite suits, all of this equipment can last for many years once acquired," the statement reads.
"Ajax is our lone K9 and the pressure on his four paws will be great. Nonetheless, we fully expect that he will demonstrate to the public every day the value of our four legged friends in blue and the need to swear in more of his furry partners in the coming year," according to the site.
The San Mateo Police Department hopes to expand its canine program, according to the site, and explains, "With its ability to track and potentially stop and detain a dangerous suspect in a non-lethal manner, a properly trained K9 can be a vital part of a municipal police department, protecting not only the officers but the people we serve to protect."