CHALMERS — The Chalmers Police Department is interested in getting a K-9 officer for its force — and they need the community’s help to do it.
According to Town Marshal Jim Davis, he’s been visiting local businesses in town, soliciting for donations and build up the fund enough to purchase a K-9 officer.
“I have a lot of people who are very proactive and are supporting it, so hopefully I’m able to reach my goal,” he said.
So far, Davis said he has about $4,000 toward his goal of between $10,000 and $15,000. The cost of purchasing a K-9 for police work varies, but it usually includes training for the dog and handler.
“(The $10,000 to $15,000) would include everything (needed),” he said. “I’m almost halfway to my goal. I have commitments, but I’m not counting my eggs before they’re hatched.”
Davis, who is also a school resource officer for Frontier School Corporation, wants a dog for numerous reasons, some of which include the ability to bring the dog into the schools for scent detection of illegal narcotics and activities in and around the area, and for community awareness.
Getting a K-9 unit in Chalmers would also help eliminate having to rely on other agencies, Davis said, and differing times frames for when the dog is and isn’t available. He added that he only needs a single-purpose K-9, as opposed to a dual-purpose dog.
Single-purpose K-9s are trained only for scent-detection and location — finding illegal narcotics and tracking people. Dual-purpose K-9s have the aforementioned training, as well as the skills for patrol and fugitive apprehension.
“I’m not so much in need of a patrol K-9. The single-purpose K-9 is one I look forward to trying to get,” he said.
But that’s not to say the K-9 wouldn’t be able to ride with Davis while on patrol.
“Would the K-9 work with me while I patrol? Absolutely, for scent detection so we could do interdiction and help alleviate a lot of the drugs that are going up and down county roads and state roads,” he said.
By not having the K-9 trained in apprehension, Davis said it reduces the overall liability for everyone who comes into contact with the dog.
“I intend on taking the K-9 into the schools while school is in session,” he said. “I want the kids to see and pet it without having to worry about accidentally getting bit. I don’t want the kids to be afraid of the K-9 or a police officer.”
Davis can also use the dog for scent-detection for narcotics in the schools, as well as for outreach.
So far, Davis said he has received a dog kennel insert for his patrol car, courtesy of the White County Sheriff’s Department.
“It’s already installed, so I won’t have that cost,” he said.
Davis also has the necessary electronics installed for what’s called a “Hot-n-Pop,” a temperature-controlled senor for the car kennel to prevent the K-9 from overheating in a vehicle.
“It will set off an alarm, roll down windows, and all my lights and sirens will turn on if it reaches above a certain temperature,” he said. “It ensures the K-9 doesn’t suffer heat exhaustion in the car.”
Davis would like to reach his fundraising goal within the next couple of months so he can get to work getting the K-9 ready for work in the Chalmers area. Davis will need time to train with the dog for that purpose.
People who would like to help or want more information should call the Chalmers Town Hall at 219- 984-5494.