Thursday, June 22, 2006
Second K-9 added to Byhalia PD
By SUE WATSON
A new police dog has been added to the Byhalia Police Department, thanks to a connection between dog trainer Candy Crawford and Karen and Gerald Wright of Memphis.
The owner donated Rico, who has about $20,000 already invested in his training for police work, first serving as a K-9 in Holland, Crawford said.
Rico is already certified for police work, having been trained overseas in prisoner hold, building search and seizures.
Byhalia Police Chief Mike Novay said a K-9 is like having a second officer going along with the handler, in this case Zack Vierheller, who joined the Byhalia PD in April. Rico holds the highest rating obtainable, a PH1, and is being trained for narcotics, Novay said.
Crawford provided some additional training while she had Rico.
“What I found that was really interesting when I talked with Zack, is when you add a police dog to the force, it automatically reduces crime significantly,” she said.
A suspect is less likely to flee from police or when officers attempt to serve warrants, Crawford said.
Rico joins K-9, Bull, who was donated to the Byhalia Police Department by the Byhalia Lions Club, which held a drive to collect money for Bull’s training.
Novay said Rico has at least $20,000 invested in his certification, and has work experience.
“Rico is already certified for tracking, suspect apprehension and prisoner retention and is training for narcotics now,” Novay said. “Most of the training is done on site.
“It does reduce crime. Once we have a dog with an officer, things do not escalate out of control. Some suspects like to give the cops a hard time. They don’t do that when the dog is there.”
With the arrival of Rico, Byhalia PD will have a trained police dog at work on shift seven days a week because they rotate on and off, Novay said.
“So, it’s not a good day to come over to Byhalia, Mississippi, and try to stir up something,” he said.
Rico is also a tracking dog.
“So we can give him a scent and he can help search for a missing person, which is a positive thing rather than just focusing on the criminal aspect of his training,” Novay said.
The other positive aspect is that a K-9 is the equivalent of the officer having a second partner there with him.
“So, many times, things de-escalate,” he said.
Byhalia has eight full-time police officers and seven part-time officers besides Novay.
He thanked Crawford and the Wrights, owners of Mayflower Transit, for giving Rico to the department, and Danny Smith and Joe Pearson with Smith Transportation for providing custom built transport cages for the two K-9 officers.
The cages were built and installed in police vehicles by Pearson.
“And I’m humbly appreciative of all the donations, including the Lions Club, and Crawford, for helping us to move to this level,” he said.
Byhalia Mayor Scooter Dempsey also offered appreciation for everyone who has participated and made donations toward the K9 units.
Both K-9s are Belgium Malinois.
Crawford is owner/operator of All Breed Dog Training LLC in the Byhalia area.
She is often asked to provide trained animals for movie productions. Last year, Crawford trained a blue tick hound and a blood hound for the movie “Black Snake Moon,” filmed in Byhalia and elsewhere.
Interestingly, the blue tick hound was found and saved from euthanasia in a West Virginia kennel. He was five days away from death, according to Crawford.
“People in Memphis were visiting relatives in West Virginia and found out about it, adopted him and brought him back to Memphis,” she said.
Crawford provided the obedience training for the blue tick hound, renamed Elvis by his new family.
“I thought that was pretty interesting,” said Crawford. “He was going to die and ended up being in a movie.”
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