SHINNSTON, W.Va. – 14-week-old Bear is preparing to be certified to be an official K-9 officer with the Shinnston Police Department. He and police chief Jon Harbert will travel to Kentucky soon to begin the training.
“What we want to do with the K-9 program, we’re trying to grow it. It’s becoming more necessary to have them. It’s just like having another officer on the street to assist in what you do, especially when they’re fully patrol certified. They will defend their handler and help protect others and the apprehension of suspects,” said Harbert.
Bear will join 13 month old Cole, who is currently certified in narcotics, including meth, cocaine, and heroin. Chief Harbert says expanding the K-9 program will help fight against the drug epidemic.
They’re extremely useful. Our drug problem has gotten worse. It’s actually worse throughout the state and the counties. Our problem here in our small community is worse than what most people want to know. We’re trying to combat it and do the best we can,” said Harbert. “We have a hard problem, like every other department, maintaining manpower, and it’s not just been our problem, it’s been a problem across the nation.”
The department is also receiving a labrador retriever within the coming months that will serve as the third k-9 officer.
Shinnston Ace Hardware owner Adam Southern will donate food for the K-9s and Audubon Animal Clinic will provide medical care. The Shinnston Garden Club has also offered to donate $1,000 for Bear’s bulletproof vest.