WARE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The K9 unit at the Ware Police Department is competing in a contest with other teams all around the nation, hoping to win a brand, new SUV.
Over in Ware, the team isn't all about winning the prize.
It's about safety and keeping their relationship strong, all while protecting the community.
At 4-years-old, K9 Officer Sampson can sniff out narcotics and notice things that the human eye can't see.
Although Sampson is a hard worker, his partner tells Western Mass News he is a lover too.
"I love him to pieces, and," Officer Diana Gliniecki tells us. "I feel like everyone else down here does too. He comes in the door and everyone wants to play with him and give him ear scratches. He's a huge part of our department."
Over the years, the pair has truly grown together, passing multiple training courses, continuing to train weekly, and, of course, playing fetch together.
"It really is important," stated Officer Glinecki. "Sampson can't talk to me so the part of being a K9 handler with a K9 partner is we have to be able to read each other. He knows me better than I know myself."
K9 Sampson and his handler, Diana Glinecki are hoping to win the Cruiser Contest through Vested Interest in K9s, a nonprofit organization that provides bullet and stab protective vests and other equipment to four-legged officers.
The Ware Police Department currently uses five vehicles that are patrol-ready, and the K9 unit is working with a vehicle that is ten years old.
Having an extra cruiser would not only benefit their department, but the community as well.
"It would be fantastic," stated Officer Glinecki. "It would mean the world to us. My biggest thing is he keeps me safe. I want to keep him safe."
The dynamic duo is competing against twenty-nine other teams all over the country, including the K9 unit from the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Athol.
Out of the thirty teams, K9 Sampson is the only officer from western Massachusetts.
Officer Glinecki tells Western Mass News the vehicle will be a single-purpose vehicle.
She hopes that, when Sampson retires, the next dog will be able to utilize it as well.
You can click or tap here to cast your vote for K9 Sampson and Officer Glinecki.
The contest is open until October 31st.