NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Aug. 7, 2023) – The police department’s K9 program is back at full strength after months with only one dog and handler but depleted its resources in the process.
Officer Brad Geist is seeking donations to replenish the department’s K9 fund, which he says is running critically low after replacing the duo that left unexpectedly last fall and making some urgent repairs to their cruiser.
“The dog and the training were roughly around 15 grand. I don’t have the figures in front of me as far as the repairs to the K9-specific cruiser. However, the K9 itself and then the training that goes along with it tends to be very expensive.”
Geist wrote a letter asking for financial support that the police department posted on its Facebook page last Wednesday. He says they’ve received quite a few contributions already but still have a long way to go to replace what they spent filling the vacancy.
“With this being a small community, everybody kind of pitches in when there is a need. We’ve had several businesses reach out to us looking to assist and several community members as well. So it’s been a very good response so far, and we’re looking forward to hearing from others, as well.”
Donations can be mailed to the New Philadelphia Police Station at 122 Second Second Street Southeast or dropped off there. Geist says every dollar that comes in is an investment in the safety of New Philadelphia and surrounding communities.
“It was actually 2021 the city made the decision that because that because of the growing narcotics and drug epidemic that we have in our community that adding a second dog to the department was something of importance. Obviously, they assist us pretty handily in removing a lot of those dangerous drugs from the street so, yeah, it’s absolutely an investment and it’s one we truly need for everything we have going on.”
The department’s newest K9 recruit is a Belgian Malinois named Pablo who’s been working alongside Officer James Miller since the end of June. His predecessor – K9 officer Diesel – who retired when handler Mike Pierce stepped down because of an off-duty arm injury. Diesel was going on 5 at the time and was considered too old to retrain with a new partner.