Penn weighing cost of adding police dog
Though they acknowledge the benefits of having a police dog, Penn Township commissioners still are evaluating whether to reserve nearly $27,000 for training for a new dog next year because of compensation issues for the next handler.
They are hesitant, in part, because the township does not have a formal agreement specifying the pay structure for a handler. Officials settled the previous handler's federal lawsuit over overtime compensation that resulted when he cared for a now-retired dog at home during off hours.
Until the officer's 2012 lawsuit, the police department had an unwritten policy for compensating dog handlers for more than a decade, police Chief John Otto said.
“The days of an informal agreement are behind us, unfortunately,” he said.
While Solicitor Les Mlakar recommended that the commissioners negotiate the compensation for dog handlers into the police labor contract, officials noted that it could be difficult to reopen the pact less than two years into the five-year deal. Negotiations on the existing contract, which was retroactive to January 2012, continued until commissioners approved the deal in February 2013.
Still, commissioners agreed with Otto that a dog would be useful. Otto referred to his department's 24 drug-related arrests in September and said it would have been helpful for officers to have a dog to track a suspect during an Oct. 20 incident.
“I agree with the chief that we've got a drug issue in our community that's, I think, larger than we want to recognize,” Commissioner Larry Harrison said.
Commissioner Paul Wersing said the hardest part of re-establishing a police-dog unit is having a handler available to participate in the training. No officers are in line for the post at this point, he said.
Wersing also said there are other expenses, such as equipment, that are necessary in the capital budget.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Penn Township officials move to ban fracking ponds
- Sunoco mistakenly puts part of pipeline on Penn Township land
- Level Green VFD nears closing on Proskin rec center
- Manor bar owner complains of police parking in his lot
- Workers at Penn-Trafford High School discover damaged pipes