Plain City PD to reinstate K-9 program


Boy Scouts Nate Eudaily, right, and Jacob Lee, left, led the Pledge of Allegiance at Monday’s meeting of the Plain City Village Council. The Scouts observed the meeting to fulfill a troop requirement. When Mayor Darrin Lane saw the Scouts, he asked if they would help open the meeting. Also pictured are, from left, council member Jim Moore, Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn and Police Chief Dale McKee.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)
At Monday night’s meeting of the Plain City Village Council, Police Chief Dale McKee announced he will be reinstating the department’s K-9 program. He said he has been working on the project since June. The chief said the program will cost about $70,000.
“I don’t have to use any tax dollars to get this back up,” McKee said.
The chief explained that his department received $5,000 in grants from the Union and Madison county prosecutor’s offices.
He added that Coughlin Automotive is donating a 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe to use. He said the Tahoe offers more room for the dog than the department’s smaller Ford SUVs. Additionally ASE Feed and Supply has agreed to pay for dog food and Dr. Daniel Lynn at Plain City Animal Hospital has offered to provide veterinary care for the dog as long as it is in service.
Lane said the restarted program would not be possible without the donations.
He added he will also be using money coming to the department through storage fees collected on impounded vehicles and auctioning vehicles seized as part of criminal prosecution.
Council approved a change in the appropriations so the police chief could spend the money. McKee said he is very pleased to be able to get the program underway without tax dollars.
“I always feel there is a way to get around that,” McKee said. “I feel like there are always people willing to help, but you never know unless you ask.”
McKee said the dog will not be in Plain City until sometime after the new year. He said Officer Joshua Hirtzinger has been selected as the K-9 handler.
“He has the passion to do the job,” McKee said. “I think he was the most qualified of those that applied and definitely the most motivated. He has the right personality to be a K-9 handler.”
McKee said the village has had two K-9 officers in the past. He said since the last K-9 program, the village has increased its utilization of dogs from other departments, often the Hilliard Police Department.
“I feel like having a dog is a great deterrent for drugs,” McKee said. “It is another resource we have.”
He added, “I feel like there is a lot of traffic coming through here to go to I-70, and that is a major drug thoroughfare.”
In other business, Council member Leslie Perkins has been appointed to the village’s capital improvements committee. Perkins was reading through the minutes of several committee meetings. She asked if members were missing from the meeting. Chairman John Rucker said the full membership was in attendance.
“I think we need more people on there,” Perkins said, suggesting the committee work to recruit additional members.
Rucker said the personnel and finance committee has members, but they often do not show up for meetings.
“We can recruit people on there, we can’t drag them out to the meetings,” Rucker said.
Perkins stressed that the resident on the committee, Sherry Heineman, was recently elected to council and will begin her term in January.
Rucker said that conversely, Perkins would be coming off council in January. He asked if she would be willing to sit on the committee as a resident once her council term ends.
Following an executive session, council authorized Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn to have a home at 223 Jackson St. appraised. The house is currently for sale. If the appraisal meets certain criteria, Vaughn has been authorized to buy it. Village officials said they would like to widen the street to the village water plant, and purchasing the home would allow for that project to happen. Officials are not sure if the home will be razed or if it can be left, though they said a portion of the home’s yard and landscaping would be needed.
Council asked if Heineman and Shannon Pine, who was also recently elected, wanted to stay and be part of the executive session. Pine and Heineman were at the council meeting.

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