BUCKHANNON — A new furry, four-legged officer will be joining the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department in 2018, if all proceeds as planned.
The Upshur County Commission on Thursday gave its stamp of approval to Sheriff David Coffman and Cpl. Rocky Hebb to pay half the cost of acquiring a drug investigation dog from Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Pa. As previously reported, the commission and the Upshur County Board of Education have agreed to split the cost of purchasing, training, equipping and caring for a K-9 officer — likely some type of friendly Labrador retriever —that will aid Hebb in his duties as Prevention Resource Officer at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. In particular, the K-9 will be utilized as a drug dog, a mechanism for both detecting and preventing the presence of illegal substances on school property.
Hebb will not only use the dog at the high school, but also at other Upshur County schools as well as throughout the community.
“I’ve done a lot of research on facilities for K-9s and I’ve narrowed it down to one in Sharpsville, Pa., the Shallow Creek Kennels,” Hebb told the commission. “I just liked how these folks worked with the animals, and I liked what the facility looked like.” Hebb and the K-9 will undergo training beginning Dec. 18 and ending Jan. 12, 2018.
“Since it’s over the Christmas break, I won’t miss much of work at school,” Hebb said.
Hebb said the total cost of purchasing the dog is $9,250, with a $1,000 deposit.
“I’m asking for $11,500 so I can get a custom fit kennel for the cruiser for the K-9,” Hebb said. County administrator Carrie Wallace said $12,000 had been budgeted to acquire the dog, the cost of which will be split 50/50 with the board of education.
Commissioners and Hebb briefly discussed what vehicle Hebb will use to transport the K-9 in a custom-fit kennel since Hebb’s Dodge Charger has logged a significant amount of miles, but no decision was made.
Commissioner Troy “Buddy” Brady asked if universal kennels were manufactured, and Hebb replied that he would conduct more research about K-9 kennels.
Brady remarked, “We will be behind you 100 percent. You do such an outstanding job.”
Commission president Terry Cutright instructed Wallace to prepare a memorandum of understanding between the commission and the board of education stating that the entities would equally split the cost of purchasing the dog and paying for dog food, veterinary bills and more.
Commissioner Sam Nolte made a motion that the commission allocate up to $12,000 to buy the K-9, designating $1,000 for the deposit. Brady seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
In other news, the commission:
p Approved and signed the Upshur County Emergency Operations Plan Functional Annex – Natural Gas Pipeline Emergency Response – June 2017
p Approved and signed the grievance procedure for complaints relating to suspected alleged discrimination on the basis of handicapped status in Upshur County; Section 504 Transition Plan and Self-Evaluation for Compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
p Approved a request for proposals for a new duress alarm system. A mandatory pre-bid conference will be held Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. Sealed bids must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the Administrative Annex, 91 W. Main St., Suite 101. Proposals received by the deadline will be publicly opened, reviewed and read aloud by the commission at 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 28.
p Approved and signed the fiscal year 2018 W.Va. Community Corrections grant contract agreement, resolution, certifications and standards and special terms and conditions. The grant award is in the sum of $180,000 to be used for the continued operation of a community corrections program in Upshur and Lewis counties.
p Received correspondence from Joseph Fealy announcing his resignation from the Buckhannon-Upshur Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, effective Aug. 13. His term was set to expire June 30, 2018.
p Received correspondence from J.C. Raffety announcing his resignation from the Upshur County Senior Center Board as citizen appointee, effective immediately.