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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced eight grants worth a total of $70,000 to police K-9 programs from his foundation on Monday.

“We’re very fortunate to be in the position that we are able to help these K-9 units,” Roethlisberger said. “The work that is performed by the dogs and their handlers as well as the bond that is formed is incredible. We’re just thrilled to do our small part.”

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The grants from The Giving Back Fund will be distributed to the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office, the Center Township Police Department, the Conewango Township Police Department, the Connellsville Police Department, the East Liverpool Police Department, the City of McKeesport Police Department and the Salineville Police Department in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.

“The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office and its hard-working K-9 Unit is profoundly grateful to the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for its indispensable support,” said Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen. “Our agency’s K-9s are devoted to their vital work upholding the safety of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and, most importantly, the thousands of citizens who visit facilities every year.

“Funds provided by the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will ensure our K-9s receive the ultimate medical, nutritional and overall care, as the majority of these costly expenses are financed by donations and fundraiser proceeds.”

The grants will be used in a variety of canine-focused initiatives, including the establishment of new K-9 units, replacement of retiring dogs, acquisition and updating of K-9 vehicles, purchasing of safety and training equipment and training and certification of new and existing K-9s.

Photo Credit: KDKA

“At a time when the responsibilities associated with protecting and serving our citizens is becoming greater, and our budgets are becoming smaller, the grant from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation to the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office is truly a Godsend,” said Beaver County Sheriff Tony Guy.

The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has distributed 17 grants totaling more than $145,000 to K-9 units around the country.

“Thanks to this grant, the Connellsville Police Department will be able to develop its first K-9 unit in approximately 40 years,” City of Connellsville Patrolman James T. Garlick said. “Our K-9 will be available to the City of Connellsville and surrounding jurisdictions, working alongside other agencies in Fayette County, Pennsylvania to increase officer safety, combat the drug epidemic, and help forge relationships between police and the communities we serve.

“The Connellsville Police Department would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for its incredible support for our organization and others like us throughout the nation. This funding allows us to significantly enhance our law enforcement and public safety services in a timely manner.”

The mission of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is to support K-9 units of police and fire departments throughout the United States, with a particular emphasis on service dogs in Pittsburgh. The Foundation has distributed in excess of $2.1 million since 2007, $1.7 million of which has specifically benefited K-9 programs. In addition, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has hosted a number of events to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Roethlisberger’s high school alma mater and other organizations close to the football star’s heart.

“The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund was able to help us start our first K-9 program back around 2010,” Center Township Chief of Police Barry Kramer said. “Since then, the foundation has provided additional funding to support the program.

“Our K-9 ‘Ingo’ has been responsible for over $1.1 million in drug seizures over the past 8 to 9 years. Ingo is now reaching an age where he will retire by the end of March this year. The timing of this funding could not be any better due to Ingo’s retirement, who will live his retired life with his handler Sgt. Cindric. Thanks to The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, the Center Township Police Department will continue to have the tools we need in taking drugs off the streets of America.”

To support future K-9 grant, residents may purchase on Sarris Candies’ website HERE using a special purchase code (77-7777). Sarris will donate 25 percent of the purchase price to the foundation.

Click for more information about the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation or The Giving Back Fund.