MEDINA — the Medina Police Department is getting its K-9 program off its feet.
It will be the eighth police dog in Medina County.
The program had been dormant for almost eight years, but reinstituting it was a high priority for new Police Chief Ed Kinney, who officially took over the reigns of the department last November.
“It was important for our ability to do effective drug enforcement in the city,” Kinney said Friday.
Nero, a German shepherd, was selected over two other dogs from Excel K-9 Services Inc., of Hiram, Ohio. Paul Shaughnessy, a retired law-enforcement officer, is founder of Excel K-9. All three dogs were from Slovakia.
The police dog will serve numerous roles for the police force.
“No. 1, he’ll sniff cars on traffic stops,” Kinney said. “That’s one skill we want to take advantage of. It will be a search-and-rescue dog if a child or old person walks away, he’ll be able to track them. He’ll be an apprehension dog. If someone runs away, he’ll apprehend that individual. If we do a building search on a break-in, he’ll be able to pinpoint where the offender is in the place.”
Kinney said perhaps its most important role will be as a public relations tool.
“Kids can pet the dog and interact with him,” he said.
Nero will be present at parades and other community events and be available to visit community organizations.
The handler will be Officer Mike Lyon, a five-year member of the force.
“The dog will live with the handler and his family,” Kinney said.
The 1-year-old dog will continue to receive base-level training at Excel K-9. They generally receive 200 hours of training before they are introduced to the handler.
Lyon and the dog will begin a month and a half training starting in mid-February. They are expected to earn certification and be in the field in April.
“(Slovakia) is where they get their dogs,” Kinney said. “It has to do with their blood lines. They get quality dogs. Several of the (area) departments have gotten their dogs from Excel.”
Kinney said it will cost a more than $12,000 for the dog and the training. There will be a kennel installed at the police station to house Nero and a canine vehicle is in the process of being updated.
There are also police dogs in Wadsworth, Lodi, Montville Township, Brunswick (two) and the Medina County Sheriff’s Office (two).
Bil-Jac Foods, 3337 Medina Road, Medina, has agreed to supply the dog food at no charge. Dr. Janine Pepin, of Tender Loving Care Pet Hospital, 3967 Pearl Road, Medina, will provide medical care at a discount, Kinney said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.