ShareThis Page

Plum police K-9 program in limbo due to policy dispute

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, 8:57 p.m.
Plum K-9 Officer Lee Temple and his dog Voda at work at the high school.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Tribune-Review
Plum K-9 Officer Lee Temple and his dog Voda at work at the high school.

A policy dispute has put the return of Plum police department's K-9 program in limbo.

After voting to disband the program at the end of last year, public pressure led Plum council to reinstate the program. But to do so required approval of a policy outlining duties of the police officer handling the dog.

Borough Manager Michael Thomas said that policy was rejected by the police union twice since December, most recently on Jan. 4.

“That's the last communication we've had from the bargaining unit,” Thomas said recently. “The borough's position is that offer's still on the table if they want to take it as is.”

Dave Seitz, councilman and personnel committee chairman, said the union did not explain why it rejected the policy and did not make a counter-offer. Union representative Tim Cerula did not return several calls seeking comment.

Seitz is hopeful a deal can be reached.

“We're trying to figure out how to get that done,” he said. “The policy's based on other boroughs' and I think it's more favorable than some of those.”

Officer Lee Temple, 48, the K-9 unit handler, could not be reached for comment.

Police Chief Jeff Armstrong said Temple remains a patrolman and the department would call Allegheny County or neighboring law enforcement for a dog if needed.

“He's a police officer first, and assigned a canine for much of his career,” Armstrong said. “Now that there's an impasse, he just doesn't have a dog in the car with him. His duties really haven't changed.”

Resident Bill O'Leary, who started a petition to save the police dog program in June, expressed frustration with not having a K-9 unit in place by now.

“I think it's ridiculous,” O'Leary said. “It's almost like they're giving us lip service.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367 .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me