Police promote K-9 fund in honor of fallen Officer Tara O’Sullivan

Tens of thousands of dollars in donations have poured in to memorial funds for fallen Sacramento police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, who left behind a loving family and a pit bull named Mojo.

Commemorating O’Sullivan’s love of dogs, the Sacramento Police Department on Wednesday announced that a community fundraiser dedicated to bringing new K-9s to the Sacramento and Martinez police departments has already secured more than $20,000 in just three days.

O’Sullivan’s father, Denis O’Sullivan, her sister Krista, their godfather, Gary Roush, and five friendly dogs helped K-9 unit Sgt. Josh Dobson announce the fundraising campaign’s successful start during a press conference at the department’s K-9 training center in McClellan Park.

“From the youngest age, Tara adored dogs — all dogs,” Roush said Wednesday. “On the occasion of a new dog coming into her family’s household, she was beside herself with delight.”

O’Sullivan, 26, was gunned down in the line of duty June 19 while responding to a domestic violence call in North Sacramento. At her public memorial service June 27, family, friends and officials with the Sacramento and Martinez police departments and academies paid tribute to her vibrant personality, ambition and love for dogs.

“Today is especially difficult for me and my family because just three weeks ago, we lost our lovely daughter,” Denis O’Sullivan said. “.... She was the embodiment of life. She was the most active and engaged person I’ve ever known. Tara did not go through life as a spectator.”

Roush helped launch an initial fundraising effort for the K-9 fund via GoFundMe with the original goal of $20,000 — an approximate estimate of the cost of the canine purchase, travel and training costs, medical care and equipment.

Dobson said the cost of purchasing a single dog can range from about $8,000 to $12,000. That doesn’t include training, he said.

With the initial goal of funding one dog for Sacramento surpassed in less than a week through the crowdfunding website, the next round of funds raised will go to the Martinez Police Department.

Sacramento police currently have 11 trained dogs, Dobson said.

Other recent fundraisers, including local Dutch Bros. Coffee drive-thru locations pledging $1 from every drink sold for a total of $64,441, have dedicated tens of thousands of dollars to a main memorial fund for O’Sullivan.

Other ways to contribute

CAHP Credit Union

Tara O’Sullivan Memory Continuation Campaign

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.