Lately it has been questioned as to the need for drug dogs in our county. Are they worth it? I will lay out some facts and figures and let you be the judge.
Pushmataha County has had certified drug dogs available since June 23, 2012. These dogs are owned and handled by individual deputies (they are not owned by the Sheriff’s Department). The Push Co Sheriff didn't pay for these animals. These dogs have bullet and stab proof vests. Again, the Sheriff’s office didn’t pay for this equipment. It was donated by larger departments.
What has the Sheriff’s office paid for? They have purchased leashes, collars and some dog food. They have also helped pay some vet bills. These items were paid for out of drug seizure accounts. Most of the dog’s expenses are paid by the deputy/handler.
These dogs do more than sniff out drugs. They have tracked suspects unrelated to narcotic arrests. One dog helped locate a missing child. The presence of a dog makes suspects less likely to resist arrest. These dogs are trained to precede their handlers into dangerous situations for the protection of the handler.
In the past year, the Pushmataha County Sheriff’s Canines have been instrumental in the seizure of 3 lbs of methamphetamine and over 6 lbs of marijuana. They have been responsible for 80 arrests, not all having to do with narcotics. In some of these arrests, firearms were seized that were linked to previous felonies. Over $10,000.00 in cash has been seized.
All of the Pushmataha County Canines and handlers are CLEET certified. The handlers and dogs are: Polly Culver, Athena’s handler; Shawn Culver, Nitro’s handler, and David Peterson, Reiko’s handler.
So..... Do we need them? I think so, what about you?