County to reinstate K-9 for Sheriff's Dept.
PLYMOUTH — Marshall County Sheriff Tom Chamberlin told county commissioners Monday that he is looking into reinstating a K-9 unit for the Sheriff’s Department.
“We’ve had an absence of a dog since 2010 when our former dog retired,” said Chamberlin.
He added that job duties for the officer paired with a dog had been posted at the Sheriff’s Department, and he had three candidates as of Friday.
“We are not hiring anybody, I want to make that clear,” said Chamberlin. “This is going to be a lateral move within the department.”
He said that the Lake Maxinkuckee Association had donated the $18,000 needed to pay for the K-9 unit.
“This money will be used for purchase of the dog, training for the dog and the officer, and equipment,” said Chamberlin.
The department has existing equipment that may be used by a new dog, after some renovation. Commissioners discussed officer compensation for care of the dog, and Chamberlin said that the K-9 officer would be paid for a half hour extra each day. He said that typically, the officer would work for seven and a half hours, but be paid for eight to compensate them time spent with the dog. The dog would be kenneled at the officer’s home when not on duty.
Chamberlin said that he plans to have chosen an officer for the job by July. A dog will be picked by August, and the training should begin in September. The officer and the dog will spend about 12 weeks training together.
“They will go through a tremendous amount of training, and that officer will have to be physically fit,” said Chamberlin. “If he’s not, he will be.”
In other business:
• Commissioners signed a preliminary resolution for mutual aid between District Two counties. This agreement provides that Marshall County will send its resources to assist a surrounding county in the case of a disaster, and those counties would also assist Marshall County if needed. Clyde Avery, Marshall County Emergency Management director, noted that he would like to specify that the first eight hours of aid should be provided free of charge, and after that time set FEMA fees would apply. Other counties in the district are expected to sign similar resolutions soon, so an official agreement can be drafted.
• Commissioners approved repairs to the courthouse clock tower, previously approved by county council members, in the amount of $38,783.43.
• County highway superintendent Neal Haeck reported to the commissioners on the status of the dirt pile at the jail. He said that about a fourth of the dirt was gone, and the process of allowing local residents to pick up dirt for personal use had been going well. He asked if the commissioners would like to extend the dirt pickup into June. Commissioners discussed the issue and agreed to continue the dirt giveaway until the next commissioner meeting, June 4. Dirt is available for Marshall County residents free of charge Wednesdays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.