Washington Twp. Police Department Will Add New Furry Officer (Video)
Township Committee OKs addition of fully-trained dog and establishes K-9 unit for department.
Washington Township is adding a new member to its police force, but this officer can’t drive a car or give you a ticket.
But what Kobe, a trained Belgium Malinois dog can do, is track down missing persons, narcotics and “bad guys” faster than a human officer could.
Washington Township Police Officer Peter Cecere, who has trained Kobe and is the dog’s owner, gave a presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 16 in front of approximately 50 people and the Washington Township Committee.
Cecere, a six-year member of the police department, cited facts and statistics supporting the positive attributes a K-9 unit would bring to town’s police force. The dog’s sense of smell, according to Cecere, is 50 times greater than a human’s, and the same search that may take an officer approximately two hours to complete would only take a trained police dog a few minutes.
Unlike many police dogs, which are German Shepherds, Cecere said he chose Kobe because the dog is more agile and quicker than a German Shepherd. Aside from assisting in searches of all kinds, Kobe would be used in demonstrations and make appearances at community events as well as local schools.
Another reason the department was seeking to add a K-9 unit is because of the response time from the shared Morris County’s K-9 department, which can be used by Washington Township’s force if needed. Cecere, along with Chief Michael Bailey, has stated that the process of a county unit arriving on the scene could take up to two hours or more, causing a large loss in search and rescue time.
Washington Township of Warren County’s Police Chief James McDonald spoke on behalf of his force in support of Kobe’s addition to the Washington Township Police Department at the work session. McDonald, who has worked with a K-9 unit for 20 years, listed numerous benefits of having a trained dog on the police force.
“One inherent benefit of having the dog is the public relations aspect of it,” McDonald said. “Everyone wants to see the dog. He’s the most sought after member of our department.”
McDonald approximated that his department has received somewhere between $125,000 and $140,000 in forfeiture monies because of the K-9 unit and its successful searches over the past 20 years.
Long Valley First Aid Squad Chief Hagan Sniffen also commented on the K-9 unit being an asset to the town, and used a recent search the squad conducted. “A few weeks ago, when it was about 8 degrees outside, we needed to search for a missing juvenile,” Sniffen said. “It took us about two hours to complete the search, and there’s no doubt it would’ve been quicker with a dog.”
After the township committee responded to Cecere and his demonstration, it was concluded that Kobe would become the newest member of the Washington Township Police Department.
Kobe comes at no cost to the township or police department’s budgets.