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Funds raised in Lehner's honor to be used for new K-9

Nick Lippa/WBFO News

It has been two months since Buffalo police officer Craig Lehner died during a training exercise in the Niagara River. On Friday, the K-9 division he served for several years received a large financial boost.

Club Marcella presented a $16,460 check to the Buffalo Police Department to help it obtain a new K-9 for the department. The club held a benefit event in November in honor of the late officer.

"Buffalo really showed up. Buffalo came together and made this happen," said bar owner Joe Marcella.

The average K-9 can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $11,000. Lehner’s partner Shield is still in the process of finding another handler. The new police dog will be named in Lehner’s honor.

Donna Wilson, Lehner’s sister, was happy with the turnout from the community.

"It has always been Craig's wish that we can get more K-9s with the unit," Wilson. "That was his pride and joy, was Shield."

Wilson said she hopes the support police officers received following Lehner’s death continues in to the new year.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.