KOSCIUSKO — The Kosciusko County Community Corrections Board held a special meeting Monday, May 6, approving the purchase of a single-purpose odor detection K9 unit for the community corrections program.
Michael Nance, Boone County Community Corrections executive director, brought his K9 Mirko to demonstrate how the dogs are used to detect drugs and firearms during home visits.
“We complete about 70 home visits a week,” said Nance. “Dogs are a much more efficient way to look for firearms and narcotics. Having a K9 unit in our community corrections program saves us time and money.”
Anna Bailey, Kosciusko County Community Corrections director, was also present at the meeting to discuss the need for a K9 unit.
“Having our own K9 will help free up other law enforcement agencies in the area so that they can use their own dogs for their own intents and purposes, and we won’t have to constantly ask other departments for use of their K9s,” said Bailey. “Home visits will go from a few hours to 20 minutes. Utilizing our own K9 would lead to our community corrections program being more efficient and effective by saving time and money. It also ensures officer safety, as well as safety of the participants, their families, and the community.”
Currently, Boone and Tippecanoe are the only counties in the state with a community corrections K9 unit.
“Kosciusko was one of the last counties in the state to create a community corrections program,” said Bailey. “We are working on being at the forefront of new, innovative ways and resources that can assist community corrections as a whole.”
After the demonstration by Nance and Mirko, the board held a lengthy discussion concerning a written canine policy for KCCC and who would be the canine handler.
Bailey told the board that she intended to be the one in the department to pursue training and become a K9 handler, as the program’s current community corrections officers have no interest in completing the training.
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Hampton expressed concern about Bailey’s current workload and questioned if she would be able to handle training and caring for a dog while completing cases.
The board voted to hold another special meeting on June 10 to address policy concerns and determine who will train the K9.