09/28/08 — Fremont to get new police dog

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Fremont to get new police dog

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on September 28, 2008 12:21 AM

FREMONT -- Noted for their strong work habits and quick response to commands, Belgian malinois dogs are a standard breed among local law enforcement agencies.

Now, the town of Fremont is getting one of the dogs, for the price of $8,500, town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said.

It will replace another canine-handling officer, who is leaving the department for the Martin County Sheriff's Department, which will inherit both the officer and his trained dog.

Fremont sold the dog to the Martin County agency, earning enough to restart the Fremont police dog program, police Chief Ron Rawlings said.

Belgian malinois -- pronounced MAL-IN-WAH -- also are used by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the Goldsboro Police Department, where training and handling methods differ broadly by jurisdiction, and more subtly by individual trainer.

In Fremont, use of the dog will be geared toward narcotics, which have been a primary concern of town aldermen, McDuffie and residents.

The ability of North Carolina law enforcement to bolster their own budgets is one other benefit, the chief noted.

"That's one of my major things, is to try to detect drugs, because the dogs, if they are operated properly you can get your money back on one drug arrest," Rawlings said.

"The dog will be coming from Holland, and the guy we deal with normally, he goes on a regular basis and brings back a certain amount of dogs," Rawlings said. "And hopefully he's supposed to have something by (Oct.) 13th."

But McDuffie said that the final vendor might differ depending on the price that the town was able to obtain.

"We are still waiting to get another price through the city of Fayetteville," he said, explaining that it's an avenue that could have some benefit because of the number of dogs needed in the city of 164,000.

That's compared to Fremont, a one-police dog town with a population of about 1,500.

"The volume they deal with dogs, we're checking into that right now, but it could be a benefit," McDuffie said.

Besides the strong work ethic and quick-learning intelligence, the Belgian malinois breed provides one other benefit -- not as much fur to vacuum out of the patrol car.

"They don't shed as badly as German shepherds, they don't spit out a lot of saliva like the German shepherds -- they're not slobbering all over the place," Rawlings said.