SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Shepherdsville Police Department is arresting more suspects and seizing more narcotics with the help of two new K-9s, according to a department leader.
The police department dropped its K-9 Unit in 2011 because of budget cuts. But this year, city council approved the funding to add two K-9s to the force and create a new task force dedicated to getting drugs off the street.
Two officers were sent to Arkansas to meet their new K-9 partners in July. Officer Chad Woods is K-9 Cherry’s handler, and Officer Billy Allen is K-9 Diego’s handler. Both dogs are Belgian Malinois, and both are trained to track and apprehend suspects and to detect heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine.
K-9 Cherry is currently assigned to a patrol platoon. Maj. O’Donnell said her handler “has already relied on her in instances where backup may have been a few minutes away.”
So far, K-9 Cherry has helped with a handful of drug arrests and successfully tracked down a wanted suspect. O’Donnell said “once the suspect saw her”, K-9 Cherry’s handler had “no problem” detaining him.
K-9 Diego is assigned to the new Street Crimes Task Force, which consists of three officers and K-9 Diego. The group hit the streets in September and is mainly focused on narcotics. In its first month, the task force has seized heroin, marijuana, meth and prescription pills.
Allen has used K-9 Diego for 17 searches in September. One of those searches started at a gas station where officers regularly stop to fuel up their cruisers. O’Donnell said K-9 Diego sat down in front of the passenger door of a man’s vehicle at the gas station. That alerted his handler that he detected the scent of drugs coming from the car. Allen found 5.7 grams of meth, 59 prescription pills, 3.6 grams of marijuana, a digital scale and brass knuckles in the vehicle.
James White was arrested and faces a list of drug charges after the search.
“When Chief McCubbin took over here, he made a commitment to address the drug problem in our community," O'Donnell said. "One of the ways we’re doing that is through the Street Crimes Unit.”
In another search, both K-9s Diego and Cherry helped alert officers to suspects with over a half a pound of heroin. O’Donnell said the two dogs are literally working day and night to make the community a better place. He said the K-9s are quickly building a track record that will make criminals think twice.
“We are aggressively going after the criminal element in our city,” O’Donnell said. “That’s what our citizens what. That’s what our administration wants. And that’s what our chief demands. These K-9s are another tool in our fight to make our community safer.”
In September, the task force also served 21 warrants, charged 33 suspects with possessing or trafficking narcotics and handed out 63 other criminal charges. O’Donnell said with the help of K-9 Diego and K-9 Cherry, the department has made a huge impact in a short amount of time.
The department is working to outfit K-9s Diego and Cherry with bullet- and stab-resistant vests soon. O’Donnell said the department also hopes to expand the K-9 unit in the future.
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