Norwalk Safety-Service Director Dan Wendt informed city council of the news during Tuesday’s meeting.
Police recently acquired Joker, a Dutch shepherd dog. Officer Nicholas Weber will be the handler.
“You may have noticed the pre-owned K-9 cruiser outside of the police department. This was Dansbury (Township)’s K-9 vehicle, which is a 2011 Crown Vic, for which we paid $6,500. There will be some minor, additional costs for decals and detailing,” Wendt said.
“You will remember that the purchase of the vehicle, K-9 and training is being funded by citizen donations. As you know, we have an opioid problem in North Central Ohio. This is as clear of a mandate as any from our citizens and I want to express my sincere gratitude to those who donated and made this possible,” he also told council.
Also, the Willard Police Department has approached Norwalk officials with an opportunity to acquire its dog and vehicle. Wendt and Willard Police Chief Mark Holden said Willard city council will need to draft a resolution about the issue.
“So essentially we can acquire a second drug dog and an outfitted 2008 Chevy (Impala) with no upfront cost to the city,” Wendt told Norwalk council members.
Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light said his department has had a mutual-aid partnership with Willard, especially for drug cases, and it should be no problem to allow Willard officers to use a canine unit when they need it.
“It should work out well,” Light said. “We already have mutual aid with Willard. We send our detectives down there (to Willard) and they send theirs up here.”
The Willard K-9 is named Obbe, a 5-year-old Belgian malinois.
“Obbe is a good dog,” said Holden, who estimated the K-9 had worked the streets for three years in Willard. “It’s hard to use him the way we like to use him.”
Project Leadership in Huron County had raised the money for the Willard canine unit.
“They did raise an incredible amount of money,” Holden said.