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City to consider buying police dogs

March 30, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown is considering purchasing two German shepherds for the police department at a cost of $21,000.

The City Council is expected to vote on the proposal today.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said the dogs will replace a 7-year-old German shepherd that is blind in one eye and a 10-year-old German shepherd that is too old.

The retired dogs will live with their current handlers when they leave police service, he said.

Smith said the dogs who will be replaced remained on duty longer than anyone thought they would.

"Anything over seven years is a plus," he said.

The dogs will be purchased from Rudy Drexler's School for Dogs Inc. of Elkhart, Ind., according to city documents.

Smith said the city will pay $14,000 of the cost upfront, and the rest of the money will be paid in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The city will receive a $1,000 discount for purchasing two dogs at the same time.

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The $21,000 price will cover the cost of the dogs and 240 hours of handler training, documents show.

The dogs will be used to detect a variety of drugs, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, OxyContin and Ecstasy, Smith said. The dogs also will be used for tracking, handler protection and building searches.

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