GALION — A new member of law enforcement will be joining the staff of the Galion Police Department soon.
But this one will walk on four legs, not just two.
Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield is adding a K9 Unit to the department in the coming weeks.
“This has been in process for some time now,” Saterfield stated. “I would have liked to have seen it happen a few years ago, but the majority of the funding was not in place until recently. And we still need help in that area.”
“A few years ago, the TNT bar here in town started doing a Poker Run in memory of Craig Taylor. That money was given to us by Pam Tischer, along with donations from the LORMC (League of Riders Motorcycle Club), Galion Elks, and Galion AFSCME Union was set aside with the intention of getting a K9 program up and running.”
Saterfield has the total cost for the start up of the K9 program estimated at $16,000, which is still being raised in full by the department. The largest portion of that cost is for the purchase of the dog, which is a one-time expense. Further costs associated with the program initially are due to training involving both the dog and the assigned Galion officer.
Saterfield was clear to say that while the City of Galion is aware and supports of the K9 program being put in place, GPD has sought no city or public funding.
“The money we have has come privately or personally, and we are hopeful that donations and support will continue to come in from the community,” Saterfield said.
Galion Police Department has all ready purchased the dog through Tri-State Canine Services in Warren Ohio. Chief Saterfield and Officer Tim Johnson, who has been selected as the officer who will partner with the dog, made the trip up to Warren recently and chose the dog themselves.
While many associate police dogs with the German Shepherd breed, Galion will be getting a Malinois, who has already been given the name Basco. The Malinois dog is a breed from Europe, and has become increasingly popular for the purpose of police K9 units.
Currently, Basco is slated to arrive in Galion in mid-September briefly, before heading off to training for four weeks with Officer Johnson. Once that concludes, residents should look to see him on duty regularly.
Caring for Basco is something that Saterfield plans to do while supporting local Galion businesses.
“We will be purchasing food from Liberty Mill at a special rate they have given us, and he will see the veterinarian locally also,” said Saterfield.
The chief is quick to express his optimism for the new addition to the Galion Police Department.
“We hope residents see this as a positive addition to our department and community,” he stated. “Basco will not be an ‘attack or bite dog’ like some K9 units are perceived. He is here for the support of our officers who are in harms way, and he will have a job to do alongside them.”