Nero, a 1-year-old German shepherd, is the newest member of the Medina Police Department. Wednesday was his first official day on the job.
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MEDINA — The newest member of the Medina Police Department, who’s a little more than a year old, won’t get paid — at least not in U.S. currency.
“He’ll get all the Bil-Jac he can eat,” Police Chief Ed Kinney said.
Nero, a German shepherd, began his career with the department Wednesday and lives with Officer Mike Lyon, a five-year member of the force.
“We’re back in the dog business,” Kinney said.
Eventually, the chief said, he’d like to have two police dogs.
The city’s former chief eliminated the police dog program in 2010.
“We’re excited about this,” Kinney said. “It’s a huge benefit to us. It will allow us to effectively combat the drug trade.”
Nero, a native of the Czech Republic, passed his certification Tuesday at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy after spending six weeks training at Excel K-9 in Hiram.
Lyon said Nero is much more than a drug-sniffing dog.
“We’re looking forward to getting out on the road,” he said. “He’ll be meeting the public. Narcotics are just one aspect of what he does.”
He said Nero also will do building searches and be able to pursue and track people.
Lyon, who uses commands in Czech, said Nero is remarkably smart.
“He’s finding ways to get out of his kennel,” Lyon said, adding he’s become close to the 90-pound dog that could grow to well more than 100 pounds.
“They’re best buds,” Kinney said.
Kinney said it cost about $13,000 for Nero and his training.
“It was a substantial investment,” he said.
Bil-Jac Foods of Medina is providing Nero’s food free of charge and Dr. Janie Pepin of Tender Loving Care Pet Hospital will provide veterinarian care for half the cost.
One of Nero’s most important roles will be as a public-relations tool, Kinney said.
On his first day, Nero stepped into that role: He was at the Citizens Police Academy in Montville Township on Wednesday night.
“He’s not a big, scary police dog,” Lyon said. “He’s very personable. He’s a great policing tool.”
“With big paws,” Kinney added.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.