LAW ENFORCEMENT GPS collars keep police dogs on track
RIDGEFIELD — As a youth, local businessman Albert Tarrab enjoyed his time with the Danbury Police Explorers.
Now, as an entrepreneur, Tarrab likes to pay back that time of his life by contributing to law enforcement agencies. Two years ago, he began a program to donate GPS collars to area police dogs.
“We’ve always given to some kind of law enforcement agency,” said Tarrab, the founder of Future Subnets, an IT company. “But I wanted to make more of an impact locally and we are avid dog lovers. Our focus is working with smaller police departments that may not have the resources they need.”
Tarrab said he did some research about what departments needed the most, and discovered that many of the police dogs were not equipped with GPS devices that make sure the canines are protected and they can locate them.
Tarrab’s office is just up the street from where a State Police K9 named Texas was lost during the search for a 42-year-old man with autism who ran into the woods near the Wooster Mountain State Park. While the man was finally found, the bloodhound ran into the woods and wasn’t seen for two days despite a massive search that included helicopters and multiple law enforcement agencies.
Tarrab said they’ve already donated collars to the Brookfield and Ridgefield police departments and is now working with Bethel.
“Once we finish working with Bethel we’ll probably move on to the State Police,” Tarrab said.
Sgt. Jeff Osuch with the Brookfield Police Department said the state trooper dog that went missing last year is a great example of why these collars are important. Handlers are able to see where their dogs are during the searches.
New Milford and Danbury also purchased the collars so all of the dogs are on the same system. This means they can coordinate searches on large areas, to ensure they are covered with little overlap.
“It has a lot of features,” Osuch said. “The collar was originally designed for hunting dogs. Law enforcement has been adopting for our own purposes.”
The collars also map the route the dogs travel on searches and pursuits. Osuch said suspects sometimes throw or drop things as they run and this allows him to go back and collect evidence after. He used to have to go back and look at a map printout to get an idea of where the evidence was before and now he’ll know exactly where it is.
Tarrab said he spend a lot of time researching the right collar to ensure its usefulness to the departments.
“It’s nice because we get to see the donations through to fruition,” he said.
Staff Writer Katrina Koerting contributed to this story