By Brad Segall

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Officials in Chester County, Pa. say a gun raffle that created a lot of controversy over the last several weeks turned out to be very successful, and will benefit the county’s K-9 units.

Chester County sheriff Carolyn Welsh took a lot of heat from anti-gun activists who said the department’s plan to raffle off guns — especially an AR-15 — at the annual Wild Game Dinner was insensitive (see related story).

But the raffle produced $20,000 — money that officials say will be used for equipment and training for the county’s dog units.

Welsh says those teams are extremely important these days.

“We are being called more than ever now, not only as a presence and a deterrent but to clear the area and if there are any suspicious packages or concerns.”

The winner of the AR-15 will undergo a series of background checks before taking possession of the assault-style rifle. Welsh says it was never the department’s intention to be insensitive, that this was a law enforcement and sportsmen’s event and the guns were donated by a county resident.