The department purchased a drug detection dog from Central Alabama Police K9 Training Center. “Bella” is a four-year old Belgian malinois trained to detect drugs and alert her handler.
Chief Andy Powell said that local citizens and business owners stepped up with donations for the dog so that the city didn’t have to shoulder the expense of the canine. Richard “Bull” Corey and the Bull Pen Steakhouse especially stepped up to cover a large portion of the cost of the dog.
“We’re grateful to Mr. Corey and the Bull Pen, as well as the other businesses and residents who helped us get this dog,” Powell said. “They deserve recognition for what they have done for the city. This will allow us to better protect the city and its residents.”
Powell will be handling the dog and is currently attending training courses to teach him to best use her training and interpret her actions. He expects to receive his certification this week.
The department also added veteran officer Jack Cooley, who brings approximately 30 years of police experience to the job, after spending the last five years at Parrish Police Department.
The department has also added Blake Powell to the roster. The plan is for Powell to attend the police training academy in April and assist the department with school patrols and serve as the school resource officer.
Powell said that adding the dog, Cooley and Blake Powell to the roster that already included Nancy Kerklin and Assistant Chief Chad Gurganus allowed the department to be stronger and to cover the city more thoroughly.
“We don’t have as many officers as some departments, but we have people who really care and devote themselves to this town and its residents,” the chief said. “Our officers put their heart into it.”
Powell said he is grateful the current mayor and city council have devoted city resources to bettering the department and providing them with necessary equipment, but he’s more excited about the personnel that they have allowed him to bring in to bolster the city’s security.
“It’s not about having the newest, best equipment,” Powell said. “That’s great, but it’s really about the kind of people you have as officers.”