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Sheriff’s office getting K-9 unit

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office plans to hire a new employee soon — the four-legged kind.

The sheriff’s office will purchase a new K-9 officer for the department. The dog will be trained to sniff out drugs, track humans and neutralize suspects, Sheriff Gene Kelly said.

He hopes to have the dog and deputy trained and on the streets by late this summer.

The sheriff has contracted Vohne Liche Kennels of Denver, Ind., to supply the dog and training. Given the animal’s multiple specialties, it will cost about $10,000. Some of that, Kelly said, will be paid for using money seized from drug dealers by the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.

The hope is to get a Belgian Malinois, the same breed of Springfield police’s recently deceased dog, Rambo. However, the kennel also breeds and trains German shepherds, Dutch shepherds and Labradors.

“We’re hoping to recoup that (cost) through quality arrests and seizures,” Kelly said.

It’s been three years since the department has included a police dog. Already, eight deputies have applied to be the handler. Both the dog and deputy will be selected and trained together.

The dog will provide invaluable skills to the department by detecting drugs not easily found, Kelly said, and detaining suspects without risking deputies’ lives.

“This will be a team, this will be a two-person unit basically, and they’ll be responding to some of the most serious calls,” he said. “The K-9 is not carrying a weapon but the K-9 itself is a weapon.”

A cruiser is being outfitted and equipped for a dog passenger at the sheriff’s office garage.

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