Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow will welcome a new officer to the department soon. It’s a Labrador retriever, trained and ready for service.
Barrow said the police department first started using K-9 units in the early ‘90s, and there were two dogs in service until last year.
“We went from two to none there pretty quick,” Barrow told John C. Rose on Thursday’s The Local Skinny! segment.
This breed of dog will be a first for the department, which previously used either Malanois or German Shepherds. The dogs have a trainer/handler and require a special vehicle to support the animal while it’s working.
When Barrow got a call from the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement agency about the 4-year-old lab that was available, he jumped on it.
“We actually went up there and watched it work, and we liked it,” Barrow said. And he got a pretty good deal – sale price $1. There is also a K-9 vehicle at ALE that Barrow hopes will be coming his way. This expenditure will be made with money from asset forfeiture funds, used strictly for police department needs, he added.
There is money in the latest police budget for purchase of two animals, and Barrow said they’ve already purchased one pup who will be ready to begin his training soon.
The K-9 officer that just had his animal retire last year is set to leave very shortly to meet and train the dog – and himself.
Barrow said the handler will simultaneously be training the new dog while completing his own certification as a trainer.
So when Dog #3 joins next spring, he will be able to train another officer to become that dog’s K-9 handler.
In some additional police matters, Barrow said he feels confident that his department will be approved for at least one of the grants that it has applied for, and either one would be a good addition for him and his officers. One grant is for the purchase of 52 body-worn cameras for police officers and a second grant is for equipping cruisers with additional cameras.
As was shared with the City Council when he sought approval to proceed with the grant requests, the cost is less in the price of the cameras, but in the equipment needed to properly store the data the cameras generate. Some data needs to be stored for a short period – say, 90 days – and some data needs to be stored permanently.
“I have strong feelings that I’ll get one or the other, or even both” Barrow said. He said the police department has enjoyed a good relationship with grant providers in the past. “I don’t know how we could survive without them,” he said of the funding opportunities.
Barrow said the city council also approved use of asset forfeiture funds to install a gate, fencing and shrubbery around the new outdoor pavilion outside McGregor Hall.
Cost for the project is about $30,000, although Barrow said he was still waiting for a few quotes. The 15 or so public parking spaces will go away to allow for a ramp to be built off the pavilion. The ramp is needed for unloading and loading equipment when there are performances at the pavilion, he said.
The project will help protect the pavilion and will create a buffer between that area and the police department.
“I needed something that could go up and down constantly, so we’re going with a hydraulic system,” Barrow said, kind of like the gates you’d see in big city parking lots.