Police dog trains for serious game
The Butler County sheriff's department police dog, Bullet, darted around a Center Township junkyard, hot on the trail of illegal drugs hidden in one of the vehicles there.
This was a training exercise for Bullet, a German shorthaired pointer, and handler, deputy Sgt. Harry Callithen. Combing through the Marshall Offstein salvage yard along Oneida Valley Road helps them hone their skills.
“They train as often as possible,” Sheriff Mike Slupe said. “We train to keep both the handler and the dog sharp and ready for their next call.”
The department uses a small quantity of drugs supplied by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to train Bullet, Slupe said. Bullet, who has been on duty since last July, can detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
Within the past year, Bullet's discovery of drugs has led to at least one arrest, Slupe said, and he's also helped find two missing children.
Butler County jail Warden Richard Shaffer said he has given Callithen and Bullet an “open door policy” to do drug sweeps at the jail or training exercises. Shaffer estimates Bullet and Callithen have been to the jail about “a dozen times” since the dog joined the department.
Shaffer said he thinks the searches are keeping drugs from entering the jail.
“If it's not keeping it out, it's making them use it or disperse it fast,” he said. “They (inmates) do see them coming down regularly.”
The department paid for the dog using a $10,000 grant from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's charitable foundation.
The department gets food through the Royal Canin pet food program, for free, which supplies food for service dogs. Mike Kelly Auto in Butler donated a sport utility vehicle to transport Bullet.
The city of Butler also has two police dogs, Blade and Gunner. Gunner is a patrol dog, while Blade serves the dual purpose of patrol and narcotics detection. Police said they didn't think the dogs overlap each other on duties.
Staff writer Rachel Farkas contributed to this report. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Stretch of Route 56 to close
- Burrell’s curriculum evolves creatively
- Eagle Scout project gives Knoch High Stadium press box a face-lift
- Springdale Library to pay rent to borough
- Brackenridge high-rise infested with bed bugs
- Machinists ranked No. 1 occupation by Department of Labor
- Alle-Kiski Valley slips into the holiday spirit with Light Up Night festivities
- Loose bricks force Tarentum road to remain closed through weekend
- Freezing rain menaces Alle-Kiski Valley roadways
- Rothfus has cash advantage over McClelland in 12th District
- Tarentum school briefly locked down Tuesday