K-9 unit proposal receives positive recommendation

City Council’s finance committee positively recommended a proposal by city police Tuesday to bring a K-9 back into service.

Initial needs include a dog for narcotics and eventually one for bomb detection.

Dogs can also be trained to fetch items such as cellphones, Chief Damon Hagan said.

The estimated cost of re-starting a K-9 unit with a trainer and maintenance is about $37,000 and the money won’t come from the general fund, but rather solicited funds, Hagan said.

Police Lt. Brian Womer will oversee the program. Several retired and experienced officers/handlers will assist.

The goal is to not only get a program up and running but to bring more K-9 units in, said Councilwoman Bonnie Katz.

K-9 history in the city goes back to 1920.

At one time, the department had four dogs. There was one on and off over the last four years.

A contract with a trainer is not expected to exceed the $19,000 price required to put it out to bid, said Joseph Pawlak, city fiscal and budget officer.

The initial cost of the K-9 equipment and training will be the bigger expense, and the city can use some of the borrowed K-9 equipment and existing equipment to save on cost, Hagan said.

He noted that much or all of the police department personnel were in favor of re-initiating the K-9 unit and seeing it expand as a crime suppression tool.

A method of how the donations are received and put into a separate account and used for various purposes will need to be worked out, said Councilwoman Liz Miele.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)