Sheriff asks for new dog & replacement cruisers
Cirka, the Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 deputy, is ready to retire.
The nine-year-old German shepherd female and seven-year department veteran, recently had six teeth removed and lost much of her mobility, K-9 handler Deputy Seth Place told the Morgan County Commissioners.
Place, along with Sheriff Vince Shambaugh and Chief Deputy Tony Link, requested a new K-9 dog and two new police cruisers when they appeared before the commissioners at their Thursday, January 6 meeting.
Worth every penny
Place said Cirka was originally purchased from Jefferson County for $1 in 2004 and has won awards in competition with dogs from much larger police departments.
Cirka has bested dogs from agencies in the Washington metropolitan area, he said.
“We have gained national recognition and regional awards for our work,” Place said. “That includes tracking two suspects all the way from the bottom to the top of Sideling Hill Mountain.”
This year, Cirka has assisted state police in locating 21 bricks of marijuana, said Place, who presented the commissioners with statistics of Cirka’s “outstanding record.”
Place said he has found and tested a two-year-old dog named Rex in Charleston that he felt is a good candidate to replace Cirka.
The new dog will cost $8,980 and will need a kennel at an additional cost of $3,780.
Place explained he has been keeping Cirka in his house, but the wear and tear on his floors with a second dog would be a problem. The two dogs will have to be kept separately.
Place said the kennel is a portable Amish-built structure that could be relocated in the future. He plans to continue to care for Cirka at home.
Asked by Commissioner Brad Close what the average service life of a police dog is, Link said eight to 10 years.
Place said a required training course to certify the new dog and its handler will be held February 1 in Winchester. He said there may not be another certification course in this area for some time.
The commissioners agreed to review the request to purchase a new dog at their budget review on Thursday, January 13, at 9:30 a.m.
Place also submitted a letter to the school board asking for their assistance in purchasing a replacement for Cirka.
He told the school board that the K-9 unit was called out over 100 times last year and assisted many agencies in Morgan and surrounding counties.
New police cruisers
Shambaugh and Link presented price quotes for two new police cruisers. The vehicles would replace a Ford Explorer and a Chevrolet Crown Victoria that each have over 125,000 miles on them.
If commissioners approve the purchase, the four-wheel-drive Explorer will be retained for winter use and the Crown Victoria will be auctioned off, Shambaugh said.
While he presented several options to commissioners, Shambaugh said he preferred buying Dodge Chargers instead of Crown Victoria models because the Chargers get better gas mileage, are cheaper and handle better in snowy conditions.
Link said two Dodge Chargers outfitted with a police equipment package will cost $50,387.
The commissioners plan to consider the request at their budget review meeting.