When working to accomplish a task, a second set of hands is always helpful - and so is a second set of paws, says Elkins Police Chief Rob White.
White announced last week that the Elkins Police Department will soon purchase a second drug and tracking dog from the Charleston-based business, Working Dogs.
The new pup will be a labrador retriever, just like the EPD's current drug dog, K-9 Officer Macy, who works in concert with her handler, Cpl. C.D. Cross. Like Macy, the new drug dog will be utilized to combat the sale and use of illegal drugs in the city.
Breed isn't the only thing the new dog will have in common with Macy: she or he will be trained as a passive drug dog, meaning the dog will not physically search people. Instead, when the dog detects the presence of marijuana, opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine or some derivative thereof, he or she will sit in front of the person or object containing the substances.
White said the purchase is feasible thanks to a $4,500 donation from a private citizen who wishes to remain anonymous.
"In the best case scenario, we should have another drug dog by the Mountain State Forest Festival (in October)," White estimated.
Two K-9 officers will mean double the coverage, White explained. Patrolman M.J. Sigley will handle the new dog, and White says he plans on placing Sigley and the new dog on a different schedule than Cross and Macy.
"We are not unlike any other community in the state in that there are drug problems here in Elkins," White said. "My goal is to provide more K-9 coverage in the hopes of detecting the drug problems the city faces. Our goal is to take a proactive approach in apprehending and deterring those who partake in illegal drug activity."
Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker recently received approval from the county commission to hire another assistant prosecuting attorney who will focus primarily on cases involving drugs and violent crimes.
He said he's happy about the forthcoming addition to the EPD.
"Obviously, I am pleased that the Elkins City Police Department will be able to obtain another drug dog through the generous donation of a local citizen," Parker remarked. "Any opportunity we have to gain an advantage in detecting criminal behavior in Randolph County is a positive step in the right direction."
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