Orleans Ford donates vehicle for Medina K-9 unit
MEDINA – Sgt. Todd Draper and K-9 Kye today are moving from a Crown Victoria police car with 181,000 miles to a Ford Expedition with less than half that mileage.
The dog will have more room in the Ford Expedition, a donation made possible by George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford. Bidleman spent about $15,000 buying the vehicle, having it repainted from white to black and white, decaled and upgraded with new tires and brakes.
It may be the biggest donation in the police department’s history. Bidleman has worked in Medina for 27 years. He said police have always been responsive for his business. Orleans Ford has little vandalism or other problems, and Bidleman credited the police presence for helping the car dealership.
“They do a great job and they’re somewhat underappreciated in Orleans County,” Bidleman said about the Medina Police Department.
The police department has had a K-9 team since the fall of 2012 when Kye, a Belgian Malinois, joined the department, working with handler Sgt. Todd Draper. The Medina Business Association paid for the dog, and Tops and Tractor Supply pay for the dog’s food.
“It wouldn’t be possible without the Business Association,” Medina Police Chief Jose Avila said.
He praised Bidleman for the generous donation.
“He realizes money is tight and he wants to help us provide a valuable tool like Kye,” Avila said.
The dog has proven valuable to the department for narcotics detection, tracking and patrol, Draper said.
Kye is very social and easily connects with children and others in the community. Draper brings the dog to preschools, basketball games, senior centers, churches and other community events.
“The dog helps us bridge the gap, especially with children,” Avila said. “We’re not just here to arrest people, but to help people.”
Draper brings the dog home with him and spends a lot of hours off the clock working with the dog, Avila said.
Draper sees how the dog draws in people while he’s out in the community. Kye also calms down situations where there could be fighting or other tension.
Draper hands out cards with Kye’s photo and some information about the dog’s background and skills. He jokes that he is “just the guy on the end of the leash.”