Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin informed the County Commission Tuesday morning of the department’s plans to add a K9 Unit to the Sheriff’s Office.
Martin said it has been about nine years since the Fort Scott Police Department had such a unit with a trained dog and they have recognized a need for that service in Bourbon County. When Martin brought the idea to the department, two deputies stepped forward and said they were willing to be trained as handlers and care for the dogs.
The deputies would have had to find a way to raise the money for the dog or receive funding from the county’s budget, but instead, a resident of the county stepped up and said they would provide the funding for two trained dogs and training for the deputies.
The handlers, which will also include the sheriff in case one of the others is unavailable, will go through three-week training sessions in Longford, Kan., in March and in May. The two dogs—about two years old and already trained with a guarantee of five years of service—will cost about $28,000 even after a $5,000 grant.
“These are dual-purpose dogs,” Martin said, saying they can sniff out drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines, as well as help law enforcement search for wanted or missing persons.
Martin said the unit would be available not just to the sheriff’s office, but the police department and the highway patrol if they need it as well, adding he thinks it would be a great benefit as he recalled a time when law enforcement had to wait for four hours for dogs to be brought to them.
“That was four hours of law enforcement twiddling their thumbs,” Martin said, saying having their own K9 unit would solve that problem.
“I think it’s a good deal,” commission chairperson Barbara Albright said, expressing gratitude to the individuals who donated the funds.