05/16/05 — Suit for training police dogs donated to GPD

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Suit for training police dogs donated to GPD

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 16, 2005 1:45 PM

A man's best friend may be a dog, but Goldsboro police are warming up to the 99 Shepherds as well.

On Friday, the new public-service group donated a padded suit that can be used to train canine officers to the police department. The suit cost $1,000.

"This will really help us out," said Police Chief Tim Bell. The department had been using padded sleeves, but the suit covers more of the trainer, so it's safer.

The department has four canine officers who train at least twice a month, said Maj. Mike Hopper. The suit may make it possible to train every more frequently.

One of the dogs is assigned to each shift. They are used for tracking suspects and, if they are regarded as dangerous, apprehending them.

If the police find an open door on a business, they will often send a dog in first to investigate.

The department also has a drug-sniffing dog, but he isn't much of a threat to bite, Bell said.

"He's a beagle. He might lick you to death."

The 99 Shepherds formed earlier this year as a community service group, said Rick Pridgen, one of the founding members. "We look around and see what needs to be done in the community."

The group sponsors the annual Wayne County Law Enforcement Banquet and will also sponsor the annual POW/MIA banquet. It has also been selling dinner plates monthly in Pikeville to raise money for a memorial there, said Bill Rogers.