Rincon City Council is thinking about adding to its police force — with a K-9 unit.
Council members have debated the costs and the merits of a police dog in recent workshops.
Council member Scott Morgan said the city was approached a year ago with the offer of a dog to be trained, along with donated food and veterinarian care, after the robbery of a local credit union office.
“I’m interested in the possibilities,” Morgan said. “I think it has good potential for the city. (Let’s) see if we can get more drugs off the street.”
If council members approve adding a K-9 unit to the police department, an officer would have to undergo training and the dog the police department obtained would live with the officer and his family.
City finance director Wesley Corbitt said there is new case law that points to K-9 officers being paid even while they are at home.
“There could be a lot of overtime,” said Browher. “But there could be a lot of cases made and a lot of assets seized. I think the dog could pay for itself, if it is used right.”
Browher also said having a K-9 unit could bring about a quicker and less disruptive end to certain situations, such as a suspect having barricaded himself into a building.
“There are some real positives,” he said. “But there are some negatives, too.”
City officials also want to take a look at the training — from drug interdiction to search and rescue — a K-9 would receive.
The police department has about $300,000 of unspent special purpose local option sales tax receipts, and the city is considering purchasing three new vehicles for the police force. The city could choose between buying three new Dodge Charger patrol cars or buying two Chargers and another vehicle, perhaps a sports utility vehicle, for a K-9 officer and his dog.
Browher noted the police department’s building is 20 years old.
“We need to start looking at it,” he said, “and we need to make sure we maintain that.”
City council members also are looking at how much tint to take off the existing cars. After citizens complained that they couldn’t see the officers because the patrol car windows were too dark, the police department began to take the tint off the cars.
However, it has proven to be a problem, particularly with the rear window defrosters, and the darker tint was needed originally to help the keep the police cars and their in-car computers out of the sun’s rays.