MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Midstate police department has been hoping to get a K9 unit for more than eight years. This is about to become a reality, thanks to a local American Legion Post.
American Legion Post 109 in Mechanicsburg is donating more than $15,000 to keep the community safe through an officer on four legs.
“Mechanicsburg is experiencing an uptick in the amount of overdoses we are seeing from heroin,” Mechanicsburg Police Chief Margaret Myers said.
Myers is seeing the worst heroin problem ever in her 33 years of police work.
“People are dying,” Myers said.
Now, a four-legged tool will help take a bite out of crime.
“This year, one of the projects we had selected is one that’s kind of been kicked around for a while, and that was purchasing a K9 unit for the Borough,” said Mike Stewart, adjutant for the Post.
“This dog will be used for drug enforcement. It’ll be used for instructing the students, going into the schools and hopefully making the children appreciate our policemen more,” said Richard Adams, commander of the Post.
The American Legion Post will donate $14,000 for a K9 and its training, along with an additional $1,000 for a bulletproof vest.
The dog will be a German shepherd or Belgian malinois from Castle’s K9 in Monroe Township. Bill Castle, the owner, has been training police dogs for more than four decades and previously served as police chief for the Carroll Township Police Department.
“The dog is a tool,” Castle said. “That tool is his nose. It’s a location tool, and that’s what he does, locates the drugs, the lost kid, the lost Alzheimer’s patient, whatever, the lost bad guy.”
“If they choose to continue to sell heroin in Mechanicsburg, buy heroin and use it in Mechanicsburg, our dog is going to be able to find that,” Myers said.
The American Legion will present the check to police at the Mechanicsburg Borough Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Two handlers will meet some of the K9s next week. One of them will be paired up with a dog, and the two will go through training for about four or five weeks. The K-9 is expected to hit the streets of Mechanicsburg in two months.
The department will need to raise $5,200 to retrofit a police car for the addition. Anyone interested in donating should contact Chief Margaret Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.