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New chief wants to add a K-9 to force

For the first time in 15 years, East Aurora's police force could have a furry new addition of the canine variety.

Newly appointed Police Chief Ronald Krowka is looking to bring a specially trained K-9 German shepherd to the force and have it assigned to an officer with whom it would live.

"If we had to pay for the whole thing, we probably couldn't afford it," Krowka said Tuesday. "But with a donated dog, it seemed like a worthwhile cause."

Krowka this week announced to the Village Board that a town resident, whom the village is not yet identifying publicly, is willing to donate one that is specially trained for police work and drug searches.

"Hopefully, the start-up cost would be little or none to the department," Krowka said. "The ultimate goal is to use it as a patrol dog and then also for drug interventions."

With specialized training, such a dog is valued at between $25,000 and $30,000, Krowka said. Krowka also is attempting to get dog food and local veterinary services donated for the K-9 dog.

The idea -- which Mayor David DiPietro said has been suggested before -- was well-received, though Trustee Peter Mercurio asked whether a village the size of East Auora needs a police dog.

"It wouldn't replace an officer, but it could supplement the department. We don't have the manpower that other departments do," Krowka said.

Krowka acknowledged that the yearly cost to keep a K-9 dog in the department could range between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on overtime for the assigned officer.

The department also would have to reconfigure a sport utility vehicle with a cage to meet the needs of the dog. Krowka hopes the department could modify a used SUV that would remain with the officer assigned to the dog.

If village officials approve the proposal, Krowka would like to have the police dog on board by early fall.


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