Police dog an investment in public safety
Originally published March 17, 2008
Chillicothe is a comfortable stop for those pushing drugs throughout southern Ohio. We are a tourist stop on a drug pipeline that serves dealers and users throughout our state and Appalachia.
As a community beset by a war on illegal drugs - crack cocaine and marijuana, mostly -the cost of a drug-sniffing police dog is well worth the initial dollar price. It's well past time the Chillicothe Police Department again had its own K-9 unit.
A K-9 unit is made up of a trained police dog, usually a German shepherd or other breed of large working dog, and a handler. The handler and dog are specially trained to find missing people or drugs. The dog usually lives with the handler in his or her home and, in addition to becoming part of the family, becomes a partner on the beat.
A police dog's career usually lasts an average of six years. Council's proposed commitment of $10,000, which saw its first reading Monday, is a wise investment for the safety of the city's residents. Hopefully, part of that will also include a bulletproof-vest for the dog, an often overlooked detail.
Those concerned about the cost should know this is about the average price for a highly trained police dog. Many of these dogs come from Europe due to the standards for breeding and are also trained there. Before entering police training, they must master obedience training. Handlers must be trained to speak the dog's language, as commands are usually in the language of the nation in which it is bred. Sometimes that language isn't English. It's easier to train a human handler to use commands in another language than to retrain a police dog.
The community should welcome a drug-sniffing dog as an addition to the Chillicothe police force. In addition to being a valuable soldier on the front line of our local drug war, a K-9 is a great investment in the future of the police force and public safety. Children may forget the day a police officer came to career day, but will always remember when the four-pawed K-9 officer came to their class.
Those kids -and adults -may think twice before turning to a life of crime after becoming acquainted with a police dog. Man's best friend may very well be our best ally in the war on illegal drugs.