UPDATE: Fundraising campaign to honor fallen K-9 officers
By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News
When Omaha Police K–9 unit Kobus was killed in the line of duty in 2016, there was an outpouring of support.
"It kind of caught everybody off guard, they realized they did not have a way in which to honor the service animals,” Matt Anderson said.
Anderson is with Back the Badge Nebraska, and also with the company Tag Ink and Thread in Lincoln.
He’s helping raise money for a new K-9 memorial that would be put up next to the law enforcement memorial in Grand Island.
"The memorial is going to be somewhat unique, it’ll be actually off to the side because that’s where the mounted patrol and canine officers are, sitting off to the side waiting to be called into action,” Anderson said.
It would be a 6–foot granite slab with etchings of k–9 Kobus and a mounted patrol.
It would honor all service animals who die while on the force.
This includes two K–9 units the Lincoln Police Department has lost.
"K–9 Zito was struck by a car after escaping from a handlers back yard in 2005 and PSD Kony succumbed to a cancerous tumor in 2016,” K-9 unit Captain Danny Reitan said. “Weren’t line of duty deaths they were still active K–9 officers and it affects the unit greatly when that happens."
Officer Chris Howard, a K–9 handler for LPD says the dogs deserve the recognition.
"We appreciate what Back the Badge and TAG Ink and Thread is doing, it will help recognize the service animals that I think a lot of people forget about,” Officer and K-9 handler for Lincoln Police said.
But Back the Badge can’t do it alone.
The organization needs to raise $30,000, and are asking for your help.
Visit their website backthebadgene.com to donate. With each donation you get a Back the Badge merchandise item.
A new state-wide fundraising initiative from Back the Badge Nebraska aims to expand a memorial that would honor the highly trained dogs who work alongside our first responders in Nebraska every day.
Back the Badge Nebraska was inspired to start this campaign after Kobus, a K-9 officer for OPD, was killed in the line of duty in 2016. Canines and their officers work, train and live together, developing an unbreakable bond. Together, these teams track suspects, search buildings, detect drugs and perform many other services within their law enforcement agencies. Sworn to protect and serve, these canines are brave in the face of danger.
The Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial in Grand Island is dedicated to honoring the men and women who serve and protect Nebraska. Back the Badge Nebraska’s goal is to raise $30,000 for the expansion of this memorial to honor members of the K-9 unit. This year, nine corporate sponsors have pledged support for the campaign.
TAG Ink & Thread supports these efforts by offering apparel and other Back the Badge Nebraska items as a premium when people donate to the memorial expansion efforts.
“We are proud to offer our support and assistance in this campaign. The extension of the memorial will allow us to honor all of the K9’s who have fallen alongside their commanding officers. It’s truly an honor to be a part of giving back to those who have fallen and those who continue to serve us every day,” says Mark Wittman, President of TAG Ink & Thread.
“Our hope is to see people wearing the apparel and showing their support for all law enforcement in the community,” adds Wittman.
You can also support the expansion of the Law Enforcement Memorial by purchasing Back the Badge merchandise from TAG Ink and Thread online at or at Bosselman gas stations in Grand Island, Nebraska.
To make a donation, or to learn more, visit www.backthebadgene.com