NEW DETAILS:

'I don't know if it's hit me yet,' 29-year-old Waffle House hero who disarmed shooter speaks

Springfield K-9 unit responds to hundreds of calls annually


The Springfield Police Division’s K-9 unit responds to hundreds of calls annually, removing guns and drugs from the streets.

The K-9 unit includes Officer Kevin Hoying and his dog, Spike, as well as Officer Deric Nichols and his dog, Gery. The officers spoke about their unit at the Springfield Rotary Meeting at the Clark State Community College Hollenbeck-Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center on Monday, which included a demonstration and appearance from the dogs.

RELATED: Springfield dad arraigned after baby overdoses, revived with Narcan

The dogs are trained to perform many activities, including searching for drugs, guns and clothing. They also provide handler protection and suspect apprehension, Hoying said.

“They’re an outstanding source of probable cause,” Hoying said.

The dogs are certified to find marijuana, heroin, crack, cocaine and meth, he said, which often leads to other things.

The K-9 unit estimates it has confiscated more than 19,000 grams of drugs during 670 deployments over the last 3½ years, including 13,000 grams of marijuana. They’ve also found about $300,000 and about 50 guns, Nichols said.

“I use him almost daily,” Hoying said. “They look for a lot of suspects and we take a lot of dope and guns off the street.”

However, the K-9 unit recently had to refuse search warrants for drug sniffs because fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin — can be harmful to the dogs, Hoying said.

“It’s very dangerous,” he said. “Their noses are wet. If it gets airborne, it will stick to their nose, they’ll take it and they’ll overdose just like people.”

The police dogs can search a large building much with less officers, Hoying said. Rather than eight to 10 officers clearing a large warehouse, the police can use three to four officers and a K-9, he said.

MORE: Springfield asks voters for tax increase to fix roads, fight drugs

“It’s safer and you’re using a lot less manpower,” Hoying said.

The dogs aren’t used if guns or knives could be involved, Hoying said. The dogs also have bulletproof vests that can be used in certain situations, he said.

“We’re going to treat them just like us,” Hoying said. “We’ve never sent them into their own grave or funeral.”

The dogs are all paid for through private donations, Police Chief Steve Moody said. The dogs were purchased through fundraisers from the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association at a cost of about $15,000 each, he said.

“None of this comes from the city’s general fund,” Moody said.

RELATED: Springfield won’t follow Dayton, plans to keep red light cameras off

Dr. Dana King of the Northside Veterinary Clinic provides care for the dogs for their entire lifespan, including food and medical care. The dogs will work between 8 and 10 years, depending health, before retirement. The handlers will purchase the dogs from the Police Division for $1 once they’ve been retired.

The dogs live with their handlers, Nichols said, and they’re just like any other dog. In the field, the dogs are trained to listen to their handlers.

“Everything we do is set up through a series of commands,” Nichols said. “They’re normal dogs until we (command them).”

FIVE MUST READ NEWS-SUN STORIES

Clark County to change Urbana Road as Navistar continues expansion

New program seeks to reach Clark County overdose patients, save lives

More development may be coming to busy Springfield shopping corridor

Four Springfield residents will vie for three commission seats

Historic downtown Springfield site may become year-round marketplace



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Pike County murders: Would investigation be priority for next Ohio Attorney General?
Pike County murders: Would investigation be priority for next Ohio Attorney General?

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hopes the Pike County murders — the largest investigation in state history — will be closed by the time he leaves office in January. DeWine last year said he hoped to solve the April 22, 2016 shootings before leaving the attorney general’s office. REPORT: Pike County murders: 8 deaths, 2 years, no...
Local Republican congressman says Trump’s Syria strike ‘unconstitutional’
Local Republican congressman says Trump’s Syria strike ‘unconstitutional’

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, said President Donald Trump’s decision to launch a retaliatory strike against Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people was “unconstitutional.” “There is no authority to do that,” Davidson said during a meeting with the Dayton Development Coalition. He said while it’s appropriate...
Guns, opioids dominate talk at local Washington fly-in
Guns, opioids dominate talk at local Washington fly-in

The Dayton Development Coalition’s annual fly-in to Washington is typically a pretty locally-driven affair — lots of discussion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Wright Brothers historical sites — but on Wednesday, the conversation briefly veered into a national social issue. Asked whether he supports outlawing assault rifles...
Major reforms could come to payday lending industry in Ohio
Major reforms could come to payday lending industry in Ohio

A week after Republican Cliff Rosenberger’s abrupt resignation, state lawmakers moved to push through the strongest reforms on payday lending that Ohio has seen in a decade. House Bill 123 calls for closing loopholes, limiting monthly payments to no more than 5 percent of the borrower’s monthly income, limiting fees to $20 or no more than...
Kucinich discloses $20,000 speaking fee from pro-Syrian group
Kucinich discloses $20,000 speaking fee from pro-Syrian group

Democrat Dennis Kucinich is under attack for his association with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and now disclosure of a $20,000 payment he received from a pro-Assad group. Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland accused Kucinich of deliberately trying to hide the $20,000 payment by listing the income on his ethics statement without disclosing that it...
More Stories