By MARY ANN HOLLEY
On the cusp of a major heroin roundup where more than 50 drug traffickers were arrested throughout St Charles County, Rick and Kim Griffin are hoping their most recent memorial donation will halt the heroin epidemic even further.
In July, on behalf of the Ryan Griffin Memorial Foundation, a fund established for their 20-year-old son who died of an accidental drug overdose eight years ago, the family donated $15,000 to Wentzville Police to add a K-9 cop with a keen nose.
“For many years, I have felt in my heart to do something for drug prevention,” Kim said. “Since 2007, the year Ryan died, this community and nationwide communities have seen the epidemic of drugs take our children from us too soon.”
See previous story: Laborers’ 42 family turns tragedy into altruism
ENZO ON THE BEAT
Enzo, the 14-month-old German shepherd, has been on the beat since September, working with handler, Officer Jason Davis.
Enzo and Davis recently completed a six-week training session and other training programs to hone their skills.
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Rick Griffin, Sr., a retired organizer with Laborers Local 42, says for him and his family the foundation has turned despair into hope.
“In an age where illegal drug trafficking is at its all time high, it is important for law enforcement and government agencies to have the best available resources to assist in their drug interdiction efforts,” said Rick Griffin. “Highly skilled drug detection dog teams can be a major asset in any successful drug interdiction program, and we’re proud to be able to help in that effort.”
Wentzville Police Major Paul West said Enzo will give officers on the street the ability to develop additional probable cause if they need to search vehicles.
“It’s just a good tool; it’s a tool we’ve needed for a long time and haven’t had,” West said.
The Griffins donation was used to purchase and train the dog, acquire a bulletproof vest for the dog and print vehicle decals.
$50K IN SCHOLARSHIPS
Since the Ryan Griffin Memorial Foundation was formed, more than $50,000 in scholarship funds have been distributed to area high school wrestlers. Ryan was an ardent wrestler. Funds have been raised through various events, including the Ryan Griffin Memorial Golf Tournament held each spring.