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Mass. student helps keep K-9 officers safe, donates first-aid kits

“It’s nice to see young people get involved in a positive way,” said Weymouth Police Capt. David Phillips


Weymouth High School senior Emily Martignetti presents the Cambridge Police Department with first-aid kits for its K-9 officers.

Cambridge Police Department

By William J. Dowd
Wicked Local Metro

WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Cambridge and Weymouth K-9 officers and their partners can rest a little easier after a Weymouth High School senior dropped off what one might consider extra layers of safety and security.

Weymouth senior Emily Martignetti donated $850 worth of Kurgo RSG first-aid kits for canines to the two department’s K-9 units.

“I am always amazed at how beautiful the dogs are and just how eager they are to please their handlers, their [human] partners,” said Martignetti in a Zoom interview. “They just really enjoy what they do.”

One of Cambridge’s four tactical-operation units includes five full-time K-9 officers and their partners in a bomb squad. The unit’s mission: “Ensure the safety of the city’s residents in explosive-related incidents.” The police built its full-time bomb squad in 2014, a year after the Boston Marathon bombing.

“These K-9 kits were not currently available to the police department,” said Jeremy Warnick, spokesperson for the Cambridge Police Department, on Friday afternoon. “They are going to be of tremendous value.”

The first-aid kit contains 49-pieces from tweezers and ice packs to gauze and antiseptic towelettes.

Weymouth Police Capt. David Phillips said their six K-9 officers and five handlers are trained in narcotics detection, patrol functions, search and rescue and suspect tracking and apprehension. There is also Charlee, a K-9 officer who works in Weymouth Public Schools.

Phillips expressed gratitude for Martignetti’s generous donation.

“It’s nice to see young people get involved in a positive way,” he said, adding that the first-aid kits will most certainly come in handy. “The dogs go into all types of dangerous scenarios and situations and can cut themselves.”

Before Weymouth High School seniors can move their tassels from right to left, they must undertake a capstone project.

“So, it’s basically a big, big research project — a lot like the ones people do to graduate from colleges,” explained Martignetti. “And pretty much you can pick whatever topic you want — as long as your capstone advisor approves it.”

Capstone topics, she said, can run the gamut: Cryptocurrencies. Psychology. Sports. Healthcare. For her capstone, she picked an area of criminal justice — specifically “what it takes to be a K-9/police dog, and why we should vest dogs.” She sourced her topic idea, in part, to the killing of Braintree K-9 Officer Kitt in a shoot-out in June.

[MORE: Mass. K-9 ‘died a true hero’ protecting officers, police say]

“A life was lost due to the absence of a vest,” wrote Martignetti on a GoFundMe page. “To honor K-9 Kitt of Braintree Police Department and to hopefully prevent an incident like this from happening again, I would like to fundraise to buy a K9 first-aid kit and donate it to a K-9 handler.”

Part of the capstone-project process includes not just a speech but also real-world application related to the student’s topic. Her fundraiser captured $650 more than her $200 goal, so she raised enough to give K9 first-aid kits to the Cambridge Police Department, where her father, Victor Martignetti, serves as a police officer.

“I learned what these dogs go through on a daily basis, and how vulnerable they are to injury just doing their jobs,” she said. “There’s always a possibility that they can get hurt, so it’s good to always have some first-aid kits on hand.”

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