The Payson Police Department received one of two statewide grants from the Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association to purchase a dual-purpose K-9 for $15,000.
The dog will come trained to detect drugs, track fleeing subjects and help find missing persons.
In the department’s briefing to the council, it stated, “Trained K-9s are an invaluable tool in keeping the town safe. Our K-9s have been involved in numerous drug detection cases. A dual-purpose K-9 would also aid in officer safety on some of the high-risk incidents officers had in the recent past.”
Chief Ron Tischer expressed pride for his officer Cody Anderson and Det. Joni Varga for finding, applying and qualifying for the ALECA grant despite stiff statewide competition.
“They have two grants they give out in Arizona a year. We were very fortunate to submit a letter and get our grant funded,” he said.
The council gave its unanimous support for the grant funded purchase of the dual-purpose K-9 during its Sept. 23 meeting.
“Our philosophy in the police department has shifted,” said Tischer. “We believe we should never have to come to the council to ask for monies to purchase canines or canine training.”
Although the town would not pay for the dog itself, Tischer estimated vet bills, dog food, handler salary, etc. would come to approximately $8,000 and “would be absorbed in the department budget” this year.
The department would also incur a one time car modification cost in order to transport the dog. Tischer estimated that would come to $3,000.
“We have enough money in our budget this year,” he said of the extra costs.