McGruff the Crime Dog now has more teeth to take an even bigger bite out of Lawrence crime.
Friday morning, the crime dog got his paws on the first of 200 city trucks to join the McGruff Truck Program. City officials have been working on the program for several months.
City vehicles from the utilities and public works departments now are joining the public safety army, with employees ready to jump into action anywhere youths need help in town.
The program is simple, said Jonathan Allen, coordinator of the city program: When help is needed, a child can flag down a McGruff truck by raising both arms over the head and moving them back and forth. The driver -- having been signaled for help -- then will notify emergency dispatch, or even police directly, to get help on the way as soon as possible.
With dump trucks, utilities pickups and sanitation trucks already rolling all across town, it makes sense to put them on the front lines for helping with neighborhood safety, Allen said.
"I think we will be making a great impact on the community," he said.
McGruff, with his "take a bite out of crime" slogan, has been an active part of Lawrence Police Department activities since 1980.
KPL already takes part in the truck program, with its two dozen vehicles already on board with McGruff decals and trained drivers.