By Liz Forster
Updated: October 12, 2017 at 8:33 pm • Published: October 12, 2017
Chewie, an explosive-detection dog with the Colorado Springs Police Department, lives his life through his nose.
Whether searching the aisles of the Broadmoor World Arena before a hockey game for suspicious items or the grass along the sidewalk while on runs with his handler, the 2-year-old lab was born to work in law enforcement.
The Colorado Springs community has the opportunity to take home Chewie and the police department's 15 other K9 units as part of the department's first K-9 calendar fundraiser.
"The calendar can give the community a sense of pride in the awesome K-9s that work alongside our awesome officers," said officer Jessica Kuhn.
The calendar, which costs $15, is a full-color, 16-month calendar. Each month features a different K-9 and a short bio.
Chewie is featured for January 2018, and his interests include playing ball, finding explosives and going on jobs with "Dad" - bomb squad officer Chris Chenoweth.
"Worldwide, K-9s are the gold standard for explosive detection," said Sgt. Chris Arseneau, the supervisor of the department's bomb squad. "No technology has been invented that is as effective."
Two other K-9s work with Chewie. The others work on patrol and narcotics detection or explosive detection at the Colorado Springs Airport,
Proceeds from the calendar will benefit youngsters such as Cadet Sgt. Brianna Welch, a 16-year-old college student at Pikes Peak Community and a cadet with the police department's explorer program. The program offers youths ages 14½ to 21 the opportunity to explore the world of police law enforcement.
Welch joined the program because she had an interest in pursuing a college degree in law enforcement. She said she quickly realized that the program would be more than just a stepping stone towards a position with the FBI or SWAT.
"People think that cops just shoot their gun around and pull people over. They do more than that," she said. "'Cops,' the show, doesn't do the job justice."
Welch then pointed to her pants.
"My pants are $77, and my shirt is $55," she said. "That's without the belt, tie and other parts of my uniform that really add up."
In total, the uniforms cost $370 - the only fee cadets pay to enroll in the program.
Police hope the calendar fundraiser will eliminate the uniform cost for cadets, ensuring that the program is accessible for youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
"This program needs help from the community so that CSPD can continue to help them," Welch said.
Calendars are available at the Police Operations Center, 705 N. Nevada Ave., from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday. Mail-in order forms can be downloaded from the police department's Facebook page.