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Huron To Add Drug Dog To Force

October 28, 2011, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Huron To Add Drug Dog To Force
HURON, SD - Huron Police are looking to man's best friend to fight back against drug use in the city.

There isn't a drug dog available in that area now and the city is working to change that. Huron Police have investigated about 230 drug-related cases in the past year.

That number is holding steady; police want to see it drop.

"Although our officers are out there making drug arrests daily, it just seems like it's a problem that's not going away," officer Brandon Neitzert said.

And that's why they want to add another tool to the fight. The city has approved adding a and police hope to have a K-9 member added to its force within a year.

Start-up costs for the unit will be about $20,000 and the city will cover half of that. Ongoing expenses could run between $5,000 and $6,000.

"I think it's worth it to have a drug dog," John VanWyhe of Huron said. "I think the investment will pay off; anything they can do to keep the drugs off the streets is good."

VanWyhe has seen drug dogs at work and thinks they make a difference.

Police would bring the dog by the schools in addition to patrolling the streets. They plan to get one trained to detect a variety of different kinds of drugs.

"It's our hope that the drug dog will be one more tool in helping us stop more drug activity in the community," Neitzert said.

Several other cities of Huron's size in South Dakota have a drug dog or at least one in the area serving a county or the state. The police chief is anxious to join those cities and has been reaching out to them as the department moves forward with its goal.

The police department is applying for grants to cover the other half of the start-up costs. Beyond that, it'll rely on fund raising.

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