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Colts, Canines and Community

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

by REAGAN MOTSINGER - The Indianapolis Colts donated police dog Billy to the Westfield Police Department to help protect the Westfield community.

(Photo courtesy of the Current)

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Aug. 2019) - On August 5, the Indianapolis Colts, the City of Westfield and the Westfield Police Department made a joint announcement at Grand Park during Colts training camp. The Colts donated a police dog named Billy, who is now stationed at Westfield High School.

“We’re very appreciative of the Colts and their donation, and also the school for allowing us to be part of this, our safety team here at the school,” Officer Anuar Velazquez said.

The community was grateful and supportive of the donation, as well as the materials for Billy’s kennel donated by Custom Concrete.

“This generosity emphasizes the importance of partnership in public safety,” Mayor Andy Cook said. “Keeping our community safe is truly a team effort and we are beyond grateful for having partners in the Indianapolis Colts and Custom Concrete.”

Leadership of the Westfield community and the Colts team were in agreement on the importance of keeping Westfield safe.

“This is something that has been close to our hearts, not just in Westfield, but other cities in the county and in Indianapolis, and we are just so happy to be a part of it and to increase security in a place that now is our home for part of the year,” Kalen Jackson, vice chair and co-owner of the Colts, said.

Billy has improved security, as well as student relationships with Officer Velazquez.

“Billy has improved the school in many ways,” Officer Velazquez said. “One of those is the social interactions between the students and myself and Billy as well. I think at times kids are somewhat scared of police officers, or they don’t know how to interact or they don’t know how to approach an officer, and I think having a dog that’s pretty social, a very sociable dog can help with that interaction at times.”

The Westfield Police Department has been using its dogs not only as security measures, but also to better relations with the public.

“Our dogs are not biting dogs,” Westfield police Chief Joel Rush said. “They’re all drug or detection dogs. It makes them more public-friendly because the handler doesn’t have to worry about them biting everybody. A lot of departments are getting away from biting dogs. There’s still a need for them, but in Westfield, we are getting away from them.”

Billy is just one of several non-biting dogs in service of the Westfield police. While he does not attack people, he does do his job effectively.

“He’s an odor detection tool, and having him on hand, readily available, will help us use him pretty much any time we have to use him or utilize him or anything,” Officer Velazquez said. “Any time we have to deploy him, I think having him here at the school, especially in Westfield, it makes it very efficient and safe for everybody here in the school and in Westfield overall, since he is assigned to the Westfield Police Department.”

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