In July of 2016, Tremonton Police Department retired their drug dog due to health issues. At that time there was not an immediate plan to replace the dog, however, the City Council felt the benefit of acquiring a new dog was in the best interest of the City and the Department. The cost of the program has not been budgeted, but the Council asked that the Police Department find a new dog and assign a new handler.
After searching numerous kennels and dogs, Oskar (an 18 month-old Belgian Malinois) was selected and purchased. Officer Skyler Gailey was identified as the new K-9 handler. Oskar and Officer Gailey began Drug Dog training in November of 2016 and became State Certified in December. “Drug Dog training channels the K-9’s natural drives such that the K-9 perceives it is hunting simulated prey odors. K-9’s are also trained to bypass non-drug odors. In the months of December and January alone, Oskar and Officer Gailey had approximately 20 deployments and over 30 finds. the finds include. “meth”, marijuana and assorted drug paraphernalia. Numerous suspects and arrests have resulted of these “finds” and over 37 pounds of illegal drugs have been seized and removed from the streets.
Oskar and Officer Gailey have been attending Patrol Dog training that include K-9 skills such as: Tracking/trailing of suspect/victims, criminal evidence recovery with passice indication that does not contaminate the evidentiary value, obedience/agility and criminal apprehension and are also trained to discern between a fleeing hostile suspect and a surrendering or innocent person.
The K-9 Program requires the department to have a specialized vehicle to keep Oskar with Officer Gailey at all times. The vehicle keeps Oskar dry, comfortable and ready to work. Oskar and Officer Gailey must attend weekly training’s to keep their skills sharp.
A restart or start up of a K-9 unit is a huge cost to undertake with national stats showing between $15,000 – $27,000 for a drug find trained dog with an additional $125,000 required for additional training, outfitting the vehicle, vet bills and other team needs. When some local companies heard about Tremonton’s dedication to protecting the community and bringing Oskar on as part of the team, they immediately wanted to help.
The Key Sponsors of the Paw’s Enforcing Justice program are West Liberty Foods, Hometown Shopko, and The Leader News. These companies are committed to help raise the funds needed to support Oskar in the community. They have set up several fund raising events to come in the near future culminating on June 17th with a K-9 Fun Day that will include exhibits, Food, Activities, Silient Auction, Dinner and Drawing and a Live Auction.
The first of these events is sponsored by McDonalds on April 4-5, between 5 – 8 pm where 20% of all purchases at our local McDonalds will be donated to the k-9 fund along with 100% of all cookie sales inside during that time. Oskar will also make a surprise visit during the event so make sure to stop by and meet Oskar.
Stay up to date on all events by liking Paws Enforcing Justice on Facebook