The Robinson Township Police Department has launched an effort to add a canine officer to its ranks.
Police Chief Dale Vietmeier said the department in recent weeks has taken the initial steps to fundraise for a police dog.
The department has applied for a grant through the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation and solicited donations at the community's September Autumn Festival.
"We rely on a police dog an awful lot," said Vietmier, who said his department frequently requests assistance from canine units from across Allegheny County.
"It's hard to say how frequently we use (a canine), but there are times we could use it two or three times a week," he said.
He said the department often employs a canine following retail thefts at township businesses, using the dog to track the scent of a suspect who has fled a crime scene.
"We have a lot of shoplifting and criminals who flee and run off in the woods," he said. "That happens an awful lot and that would be one use for the dog."
Vietmier estimates his department will need to fundraise between $15,000 and $20,000 for the dog, which will be adopted through the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Canine School.
He said five officers in his department have expressed interest in working alongside the dog. Officers will undergo training and one will be selected for the position, he said.
In addition to applying for the Roethlisberger grant, Vietmier said his department has received several corporate donations toward the effort.
"It's something that's been discussed for a while here," Vietmier said. "For us, it would be another officer."