Westport Police Department’s K9 Unit, from left, Cpl. Jim Loomer with Brute, Cpl. Dave Scinto with Atlas and Cpl. Kevin Smith with Onyx.
Westport Police Department’s K9 Unit, from left, Cpl. Jim Loomer with Brute, Cpl. Dave Scinto with Atlas and Cpl. Kevin Smith with Onyx.

WESTPORT — A fundraising campaign has been launched to support the Police Department’s K9 Unit.

The unit, which operates entirely on public donations, plans to use money raised to purchase two new specially outfitted vehicles, as well as to acquire and train a new K9 to replace Atlas, who is scheduled to retire in December.

Donations to the fundraiser — which has a $58,000 goal — can be made via the campaign’s gofundme page.

The Westport K9 Unit currently has four officers and dogs, but with the planned retirement of Atlas later this year, “it becomes essential for us to plan for their successors, ensuring continuity in our efforts to keep Westport safe,” according to the fundraiser announcement. “Through this fundraising initiative, our goal is to secure the necessary funds to cover the costs of acquiring the vehicles and implementing a training program for Atlas’s successor.”