NLPD and Colony Pumpkin Patch partner for a future furry officer

tshirtsNorth Liberty loves its dogs, and the North Liberty Police Department is no different.

The department believes a future canine unit could be a big asset to the community by helping human officers with searches, apprehension and tracking. But starting a K9 program isn’t cheap — initial costs run $75,000 or more.

That’s where Dean and Katie Colony and their pumpkin patch come in.

When the Colony Pumpkin Patch opens Saturday — with its corn maze cut in homage to the NLPD and canine cops — a portion of every admission goes towards the initial funding of a future NLPD K9 unit. The department will also have T-shirts, urging the community to “Keep Calm and Support On,” for sale at the pumpkin patch, located at 2780 Front St. NE in North Liberty, to highlight their #NLPDK9 effort and raise funds.

“We want the community to think of a police dog as their dog,” said Chief Diane Venenga.

The Colonies will be donating a portion of each daily admission, which includes a 5-acre corn maze, an expanded play area, barrel train, corn box, pick-your-own pumpkin patch and, on weekends, hayrack rides, to the fund. Details about the Colony Pumpkin Patch, including hours, are available at

K9s are used by other local law enforcement agencies, including the Johnson County Sheriffs and the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety, who will help select the eventual human officer and provide insight and guidance as the program starts up. The NLPD plans invite other local agencies to make appearances and demonstrations at the pumpkin patch throughout the fall as well.