K-9 Elsa joins the Gwinnett County Police Department

- On June 13, Chief Butch Ayers received a very touching letter from a woman named Kathy Gestar. 

In the letter, Ms. Gestar talked about the importance of police K-9s in law enforcement.  “Moved by the need for additional dogs and equipment, I founded the Cody Fund, named after my beloved Sheltie that passed away in 2008, to support police K-9 units in Gwinnett County,” she wrote. 

At the bottom of the letter, Kathy stated that she wanted to donate $12,000 toward the purchase and training of a new police K-9 for the Gwinnett County Police Department. Her generous donation led to us acquiring a very special Belgian Malinois named Elsa.

On Wednesday, December 7, Chief Ayers, Major Strickland, and the K-9 Unit presented Ms. Gestar with a framed photo of Elsa and gave personal appreciation for her generous donation.  The event took place at the Rotary Club at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. 

Elsa and her handler, Officer Dan Larsen received their initial training from the Tarheel Canine Training in Sanford, NC.  Elsa will likely begin her first shift around February after she receives all her necessary training.

Elsa is one of 9 dogs in the K-9 Unit.  Each K-9 is assigned to a police officer handler.  The K-9s spend their entire shift with their handler.  At the end of their shifts, the K-9s go home with and live with the officer and their families.  In most cases, they will even spend their retirement with their human partners. 

The bond between Officer Larsen and Elsa is undeniable. 

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