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  • Last modified 29 days ago (Oct. 23, 2019)

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Police department welcomes new recruit

Staff writer

Thanks to $11,496 raised by the community, Marion’s police department has welcomed its newest recruit — a 9-month-old Belgian Malinois named Blue.

Her primary duties are to sniff for drugs, find lost people or dangerous suspects, visit schools, and be the department’s ambassador, police chief Clinton Jeffrey said.

Officer Aaron Slater is her handler. After coming home from training in Omaha, Nebraska, last week, Blue has been busy visiting schools and businesses in Marion and getting to know everyone.

Of the money raised, $7,600 went to purchase the dog. Blue’s kennel was purchased with $2,500 in asset seizure money. The remainder of the public’s donations will be used for the care and maintenance of the dog until the city budgets money for Blue’s expenses in 2020. Any leftover donation funds will be saved for the possible purchase of another dog, police chief Clinton Jeffrey said.

“The initial benefit she brings is engagement with the community,” Jeffrey said. “It’s the people who ask about the dog, and come talk to us. It’s a big thing. I don’t think I can put a monetary value on it.”

The number of drug arrests has decreased since 2015, when the department earlier had a police dog.

“Our goal in this endeavor is to get the methamphetamine and the heroin off the street,” Jeffrey said. “I don’t know that you can put a dollar amount on that.”

The department can seize assets from people arrested for drug distribution, which is then spent on equipment, Jeffrey said.

At this time, Blue is the only police dog on duty in the county because the sheriff’s office dog handler is overseas in the military.

Blue will be available for both city and county residents including school districts and Tabor College, police chief Clinton Jeffrey said.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Belgian Malinois is keenly intelligent, muscular, athletic, and exceedingly devoted. They excel at tracking and obedience.

Code 2 K-9 Services, where Blue was trained, said she was originally purchased by a family who found she needed more time and attention than they were able to give her, so she became a police dog. A video of her in training is posted on Code 2’s social media page.

The police department will have a hot dog feed from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 31 in conjunction with Trick or Treat Main St. to celebrate Blue’s arrival.

Last modified Oct. 23, 2019

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