The Pulaski County Council approved, by a majority vote of 6 to 1, Sheriff Michael Gayer’s request to transfer funds to pay for the two K9s at a cost of $25,165.38.
The payment of the K9s had to be done a different way than initially proposed but Auditor Shelia Garling, the sheriff and representatives from the State Board of accounts told the council that they could take the money out of the user fee of the law enforcement continuous education fund to the continuing education fund.
The dogs are in service with one officer and K9 working the day shift and the other officer and the K9on the night shift to give 24 hours of continuing coverage.
The council members are concerned about having a contract to keep the dogs in the county in case the officer were to find employment elsewhere. It was mentioned that the council has invested in the training and the acquisition of the dogs and want them to stay in the county. Sheriff Gayer said he’d contact County Attorney Kevin Tankersley to look into possibly drafting an ordinance to that effect.
Councilman Ron Powers said the council never voted for the dogs and wondered why the county needed them anyway. Sheriff Gayer explained that the dog is a tool to help officers in taking illegal drugs off the street. Powers said that an officer should be able to get into the car and look for drugs, but Gayer said the officer has to have probable cause prior to that and the dogs aid in that aspect.
“If the dog sits down as he’s trained to do, then that’s probable cause. He’s detected something in the car and the courts say you can get in that car without a search warrant. Your car is like your castle. An officer can’t get into it unless he detects an odor of a drug, if he sees it with his own two eyes laying in the console or in an ashtray,” explained Gayer.
In addition to the transfer, an appropriation will be advertised for the council’s July meeting as additional money will be appropriated into one fund to be transferred.