By Nicole Minier
COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Police Department picked the newest member of the force last week. K9 Officer Cas is a 16-month-old Belgium Malinois/German shepherd crossbreed.
She will be longtime officer Gary Archbold’s new partner, and the only K9 officer between the city police department, Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, South Whitley Police Department and Churubusco Police Department.
Archbold has also served as a part-time deputy marshal for the Churubusco Police Department.
Columbia City’s Police Department is reaching out to members of the Whitley County community for monetary contributions for the dog, which comes with a $20,150 initial pricetag and $2,950 in annual costs.
Start-up costs include purchasing the dog and initial training ($15,000), a kennel at the officer’s residence ($1,500), equipment ($950) and squad car upgrades ($2,500).
Annual costs include food, vet bills and recertification.
The new K9 will be used for narcotics, tracking, suspect apprehension, article search/recovery, handler protection, searches for missing or endangered persons and public relations.
A press release by the CCPD offered more information about having a K9 unit:
• It takes not only a specifically qualified dog to perform a variety of tasks such as chasing down a criminal, sniffing out drugs in a car or searching for a missing person, but it also takes the right handler.
• Our K9 officer is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The team trains two days a month, and throughout each shift.
• The canine team helps to deter and prevent crime throughout the city as well as assisting the other law enforcement agencies within Whitley County. Our K9 is the only dual purpose dog in Whitley County.
• We also help strengthen a positive relationship with our citizens by doing activities such as community demonstrations.
The pup will be brought home on March 3, and training will begin March 13.