Getting your car washed today at Wired Wash & Wax, 484 Tunxis Hill Road, not only gets rid of that winter grime, but also helps fight crime.

That's because part of the day's car-wash receipts will be donated to the drive by the Fairfield Police Department to establish a K-9 team. Police officers will be on hand to greet the public, help wash cars and accept donations.

Also making appearances will be McGruff the Crime Dog and the cops' new D.A.R.E. car. Balloons will be given to young children.

Police have organized fundraisers since January to help defray the expense of establishing a police dog unit. More are events planned, including a Sound Tigers game on March 19, buttressed by a series of fund-raising campaigns in local elementary schools.

"All of the funding has come through all of these grassroots efforts," said Sgt. Suzanne Lussier, a police spokesman. "And it's surprising how many people from surrounding communities have shown their support."

Fairfield is one of only a few towns in lower Fairfield County without a police dog. The department now relies on assistance from Bridgeport, Westport and State Police K-9 units. Recently, Darien, New Canaan and Trumbull have added dogs to their ranks or are in the process of doing so. Both New Canaan and Trumbull relied on private donations to set up the unit.

Fairfield hasn't had a police dog in more than 10 years, but Chief Gary MacNamara believes the "time is right" to bring back K-9s.

"We need people to come down, get your car washed and help the community," Lussier said of Saturday's car-wash fundraiser.