The Susanville Police Department is moving forward with a K-9 program as soon as the funds are there. Susanville City Council approved the department’s ongoing fundraising efforts for the entire program, which will cost an estimated $22,000.
Susanville police chief Kevin Jones shared with the Susanville City Council that a K-9 presence in law enforcement has a value that is difficult to quantify.
Police K-9 units are used for drug detection, searching, tracking, protection and use of force. Jones described K-9s as being a positive community relation tool that would be utilized year round.
The program will be financed by fundraising; efforts which will need to begin as soon as practically possible. In fact, through the efforts of those at the department such as officer Hoover of the SPD, who has already raised around $6,000 for the program. Hoover has also teamed up with the Susan River Fire Protection District for a future gun raffle to be donated to the program.
The approximately $22,000 in expenditures would include the cost of purchasing the canines, handler training, lodging/per diem, equipment, kennel, leash, collars, bowls and food.
According to Jones’ information packet to the council, the K-9s would be deployed in schools, civic groups and community events and he compared the program to the school resource officer, in that trying to quantify their presence is very hard to do.
The canine officer will be selected by Jones and will work varied shifts on successful completion of handler training. The company, Vohne Liche Kennels, will be used to purchase the canine and will provide a limited warranty/insurance.
The department decided to go with the company because of its high recommendations from the handlers of Sparks and Reno police departments and the Washoe County sheriff’s office.
The dog will be purchased by the SPOA and leased to the police department for $1 per year, as is common with regards to agreements that cover the essential outliers that might occur in the program.
Jones shared with the council that the last program the city had for K-9 units was in the 1990s, but there hasn’t been one since. However, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office utilizes K-9 units.
Police officers shared with the council their many experiences sharing the K-9 unit for several purposes and local residents called passionately for the program’s passage. Some of those residents shared their expectations for the K-9 unit, such as to help deter crime, sniff out drugs as well as for the safety of the officers and community.
All of the officers with personal experience boasted about its vast applicability and usefulness. Some even mentioned they had requested help from the county several times per week, and would be able to use the K-9 every day. They also lent their assistance to fundraising.
Several council members extended financial assistance through their discretionary funds.
Councilmember Brian Wilson was the first to offer funds, offering the remainder of his budget at the next city council meeting, which would be between $300 and $400. He also told officer Hoover if he were to come to his office, he would match his funds dollar-for-dollar.
Next, and immediately following Wilson, councilmember Brian Moore offered the remainder of his discretionary funds toward the program, to be agenized at the next meeting. Council member Mendy Schuster offered $200 from her discretionary fund.