Police K9 Orka’s got a brand-new ride

  • Orange Police K-9 Orka and K-9 Officer Christopher Bisceglia stand in front of the 2017 Ford Police Interceptor purchased with a nearly $60,000 donation. Recorder Staff/Domenic Poli

  • Orange Police K-9 Orka and K-9 Officer Christopher Bisceglia stand in front of the 2017 Ford Police Interceptor purchased with a nearly $60,000 donation. Recorder Staff/Domenic Poli

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/28/2017 10:28:37 PM

ORANGE — Orange Police K9 Officer Christopher Bisceglia and K9 Orka have a new cruiser thanks to a nearly $60,000 donation to the department.

Bisceglia said his department in March received a check from Franklin County residents Barbara Haas Blydenburgh and Raymond Blydenburgh and used the money on a 2017 Ford Police Interceptor SUV. The vehicle arrived at the station two weeks ago.

“It’s impressive,” Bisceglia said outside the police station, with Orka barking away in the cruiser’s cage. “We were training one day at the Orange (Municipal) Airport and that’s where we met (the Blydenburghs). … They came up to us and just started a conversation, asking about the dog program.”

The Orange Police K9 Unit was founded more than 30 years ago and has long been supported by the Pioneer Junior Women’s Club, which organizes occasional fundraisers for the program. Bisceglia said the department pays him overtime for training but the costs of dog food, veterinary bills, gear, K9 cruisers and the animal herself are covered by donations.

The former cruiser, a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria that lacked any modern safety features for a police K9, had roughly 140,000 miles on it and Bisceglia said the Blydenburghs were eager to help. Bisceglia said the Blydenburghs wish to not be contacted for comment, though he publicly thanked them on Facebook.

He said the new cruiser is equipped with the latest technology. The vehicle has a temperature sensor that alerts Bisceglia when the cruiser is too hot or too cold for Orka. Bisceglia explained this function operates only when the engine is running and, if the engine stalls, the back windows are automatically lowered and a fan kicks on for the dog. He also said the cruiser’s technology is linked to his smartphone.

Orka, a Belgian Malinois, turned 3 years old earlier this month, said Bisceglia, who took over K9 handler responsibilities for Officer Clay Rushford in April 2016, after K9 Matte died. Orka was born in Slovakia before being moved to a vendor in New Mexico. She joined the department on June 22, 2016, as the first female K9 in department history and the first trained in narcotics detection. She is also patrol certified, meaning she can apprehend suspects and track people when needed.

Updates on Orka can be found at www.facebook.com/OrangePoliceDepartment/

Reach Domenic Poli at:
dpoli@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 258
On Twitter: @DomenicPoli


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