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6/3/2019 - Pennies for Boomer Campaign a Huge Success


In February 2019, The Cumberland County Freeholders announced a contest among several Cumberland County schools named, “Pennies for Boomer” to raise money to purchase, equip, and provide for the training of a new canine officer, in honor of the Cumberland County Sheriff Department’s beloved canine officer, “Boomer”. Boomer became a local legend as the canine face of the K-9 unit appearing at demonstrations at many local schools and community events. Prior to Boomer’s passing on March 28, 2016, when not raising local public safety awareness, Boomer provided bomb detection support to Cumberland County area law enforcement and even performed his duties at national events such as Miss America Pageants, LPGA Professional Golf Tournaments and the Super Bowl.

The K-9 unit was formed in 2009 under the direction of Sheriff Robert A. Austino and is deployed in a variety of roles including narcotics and explosives detection, suspect apprehension and the location of missing children and adults. In discussing the need for K-9 units, Deputy Director Freeholder Darlene Barber stated, “K-9 units play a critical role in public safety, but are extremely expensive to maintain.” Barber continued, “Boomer’s former K-9 partner, Officer Craig Johnson, needed a new canine partner, so with the help of Freeholder Carol Musso, Sheriff Robert Austino, County Administrator Kim Wood, Officer Craig Johnson, and myself we began brainstorming.” Barber stated, “our goal was to acquire a new canine officer as soon as possible and promote a positive relationship between our students and law enforcement.” From these discussions, the idea of “Pennies for Boomer” which features a friendly contest among fifth grade classes at nine local schools emerged. The participating schools are: Mennie’s Elementary School(Vineland), Dane Barse School(Vineland), Moore School (Upper Deerfield) School, Winslow School(Millville), Cherry Street School(Bridgeton), Downe Township School, Deerfield Township School, Indian Avenue School(Bridgeton) and West Avenue School(Bridgeton).

The students at the participating schools have been collecting pennies from February through March. As the contest winds down during the first week in April, the schools have exceeded everyone’s expectations. “We are amazed at the response”, said Freeholder Musso. Musso went on to say, “The pennies were delivered and counted at Century Savings Bank. All nine schools raised a total of $5,999.54 that will assist with covering program expenses which include the costs for the acquisition of the canines as well as the specialized training and equipment necessary to operate an effective K-9 Unit.” Deputy Director Barber added, “the hard work and sacrifice of our students will ensure that Cita and the other K-9 Officers will be a frequent visitor to our county classrooms.”

Century Savings Bank treated Winslow School to a pizza party for raising the most funds during the Pennies for Boomer campaign period. Winslow School raised $1,529.58 for first place. The breakdown of the following schools is as follows: Mennie’s Elementary School $140.00, Dane Barse School $171.40, Moore School $533.29, Winslow School $1,529.58, Cherry Street School $269.15, Downe Township School $837.75, Deerfield Township School $899.86, Indian Avenue School $1,373.51 and West Avenue School $245.00.

The Cumberland County Freeholders thank the schools and community for the financial support in Boomer’s memory to support our vitally important K-9 unit.

Freeholder Deputy Director Darlene Barber, Freeholder Carol Musso, and Sheriff Robert Austino have been leading the effort of the committee along with Sergeant Darrell Meyers, Officer Craig Johnson, Officer Ryan Riley, K-9 Cita, K-9 Wiccan, K-9 Kash, and K-9 Memphis. For further information or to make donations, please contact Officer Craig Johnson at the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department at or 856-451-4449, extension 25123 or Officer Ryan Riley at


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