Times Leader Staff Writer
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The St. Clairsville Police Department is seeking donations to have its K-9 unit retained.
St. Clairsville Police Officer Mike Troullos stands with Patrolman Bo.
The current canine, Patrolman Bo, is only trained as a single - purpose unit to detect narcotics. They want to have Bo trained as a tracking dog as well. The additional training will cost the department $2,500. As of right now, the department only has $1,000 that have received from donations. Another $1,500 is needed.
Having a narcotics dog was the main priority for St. Clairsville when they first acquired Bo.
"We are looking at expanding the training and we have already received some donations, but we are still trying to raise funds," said Officer Michael Troullos, who is Bo's handler. "I think it is important because you can use it for a lot of things such as searching for lost kids, adults with Alzheimers that walk away and tracking criminals that got away on foot."
Troullos has been with Bo for two years in November.
"We haven't solicited (for donations) yet," said Police Chief Jeff Henry. "We have $1000 in donations, but we can't get it started until it is paid for."
Henry said they will take donations from local businesses, organizations and citizens.
A local bank has already made a donation of $500 already. Along with the donations, the department already has forfeited drug money set aside as well that will be used for the additional training as well.
Recently, St. Clairsville had an Alzheimers patient that went missing and was unable to obtain a tracking dog, the closest tracking dog that was available was in Cambridge.
"If we had a tracking dog immediately available we could have found him quicker," Henry said. "Thankfully he came out on his own."
Not only will the additional training benefit the St. Clairsville Police Department but majority of the agencies in Belmont County.
"The dog is not complete unless he can track so we can find one lost kid or one lost Alzheimers patient, that's the way I am looking at it," Henry said.