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Wayne County Sheriff's Dept. to get first-ever K-9

WAYNE, WV (WOWK) - The Wayne County Sheriff's Department plans to ramp up drug enforcement soon, by adding its first-ever K-9 unit to the team.

Typically, Wayne County officers have to use Huntington Police K-9s, or surrounding agencies, but that can take up to an hour, and sometimes a K-9 isn't available in time.

"The other agencies are really great to help us, but it's just a time thing," said Wayne County Sheriff Rick Thompson. "We'll be in one part of the county and the closest K-9 will be an hour away. You can't really hold people that long and wait on a K-9 to get there, so sometimes we just have to let them go because we don't have that capability right now."

To avoid that issue in the future, the department is raising about $10,000 to purchase its own K-9 unit. They plan to have the dog by this fall.

In 2017, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department made about 200 drug arrests and they hope the new K-9 will increase that number even more.


The Wayne County Sheriff's Department released the following press release:

In the ongoing effort to eradicate drugs, Sheriff Rick Thompson announced the department's intention to implement a K-9 unit. This will be the first ever K-9 unit for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Thompson stated:

"Huntington is ground zero for the Opioid epidemic in the Unites States. It is often overlooked by the public that Huntington is also a large portion of northern Wayne County. In addition, Drugs are prevalent throughout the county. The K-9 will be utilized for search and seizure of narcotics and a tracking dog. The K-9 will not be a bite dog. The K-9 will assist officers in locating lost children, hikers, or elderly persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s."

"The Wayne County Sheriff Drug Enforcement Unit is one of the most successful drug units in the state. They are however a small unit and Wayne county citizens have always been of great assistance. There are often times the Drug Enforcement Unit makes traffic stops where a K-9 is needed and isn’t available. We have often received assistance by the WVSP K-9 and Huntington K-9 Units but at times they may not be available. A K-9 would greatly enhance the ability to seize drugs and make drug arrests. Thus, we are asking for help from our community with costs of this program."

"Often, we encounter drug dealers from Huntington, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Dayton, Detroit, Atlanta, and Macon in the Huntington and US RT 52 areas of Wayne County. US RT 52 and I-64 is a major drug pipeline that these dealers travel through transporting and distributing narcotics. These dealers are often career criminals who take special precautions to avoid detection. A K-9 sniff would develop probable cause to allow officers to search their vehicles that are often impossible to get permission to search."

"We will work closely with the schools in our community to develop a program to utilize the K-9 to eliminate drugs in our schools and to help keep a healthy relationship with our students and law enforcement. We are asking for monetary donations from the community to help with costs of training, the K-9, and the transportation unit for the K-9."

"If you would like to help, checks can be mailed to The Wayne County Sheriff Department at P.O. Box 218 Wayne, WV 25570. Please indicate that it is for The K-9 unit. Further questions please contact The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department at 304-272-6378."

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