Police welcome dog, Legion, to the force

Staff writer

The Marion Police Department will have a new addition after German shepherd, Legion, completes training with his partner officer Mike Stone.

The 10-month-old puppy will replace Ana as the department’s canine officer.

“Just like any employee, some dogs may not work all the time and some dogs wash out because of their inability to avoid distractions,” Chief Tyler Mermis said during Monday’s Marion City Council meeting. “Ana was not trainable.”

Mermis said that in training exercises with people and other dogs Ana would become defensive and try to bite people who came near officer Stone.

“We decided it was not worth the liability to have her working with the public,” Stone said. “I take full responsibility for what happened. I promised the city a dog and thought things were going well but she was just not safe to have around the public.”

The department received a private donation of $1,200. Stone paid for the rest of the $4,500 for Legion out of his pocket. Ana will be placed in another home.

“The chief and I felt it was the right thing by the department, city, and citizens to do to replace Ana,” he said.

Legion is already trained in odor detection. When he smells a drug, he goes to where the odor is and just sits by the smell with his nose pointed to where the smell is coming from.

“This gets the city out of a lot of liability,” Mermis said. “Say someone has a $70,000 BMW and the dog was to walk up and scratches on it. That would be a bad deal.”

He is training this week with Stone, and will be ready for public duty after completing that training Friday.

“He’s just a large goofy dog, so he will be great for presentations in the school and in public,” Stone said. “He loves everyone; his only problem is currently he smells funky.”

Stone will present Legion, after giving him a bath, to the council at Monday’s meeting.

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