A local radio station is lending a helping hand to a local police department. 329 feet is a short distance for a run, but Saturday it went a long way for the Altoona Police Department’s K-9 unit. The P10K2 (the name of the second annual 1/10-kilometer race put on by 92.9 The X) brought walkers and runners to Happy Hollow in Altoona Saturday to raise money for the K-9 program that the department plans to launch next March.
“You can see how many people are here on a Saturday morning after St. Patrick’s Day,” Anthony Helstern, the officer chosen as the handler for the Altoona Police Department’s K-9 unit, said. “These are real troopers that really support our program. We appreciate all the love and support that they give us.”
Helstern says the need for the K-9 unit is huge because of the growing drug problem in the area.
“There’s drugs everywhere,” Helstern said. “Meth is huge. Meth is on the rise in Eau Claire County and the surrounding areas. There’s almost a weekly bust somewhere where drugs are getting taken off the streets. The more drugs we take off the streets, the better impact we’re making on our communities."
The walk/run is different than most summer runs. And it’s for a good cause.
“Everybody does a run these days: a 5k, a 10k,” Taylor Voeltz, 92.9 The X’s promotion director, said. “This is 329 feet. You can walk it, run it, do whatever you gotta do. We’re up the street, we walk in, and we’re raising money.”
Some who live in the Chippewa Valley say it’s a great way to help keep the community safe.
“The idea of a K-9 dog just really intrigues my wife and I,” Brad Bucki, who lives in the Altoona School District, said. “We have two little boys and we just want to make sure the community is as safe as it can be. Altoona is growing very quickly and we want to make sure we can be a safe, small community. And we think this is one of the ways to do it.”
The money raised Saturday will go toward the $90,000 goal the department wants to reach for the K-9 unit.