By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – The Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department has launched a fundraiser to raise $20,000 to add a new crime fighter to their roster, a police dog.
Sheriff Lance Humphreys reported his department has mailed letters to businesses across the county seeking financial support to purchase a cross-trained police dog, preferably a Malinois. Humphreys explained the Malinois are smaller and more energetic than shepherds traditionally used as police dogs and can often work up to 12 years old.
The sheriff said that if the funds are raised, the department will purchase a dog that can detect drugs and is trained to track as well as in criminal apprehension. The estimated cost of the dog is $10,000, plus $4,500 for a K-9 vehicle insert. The additional funds will be used for other accessories used in the day-to-day operations to train and equip a police dog.
Humphreys, who was a K-9 handler for the Water Valley Police Department from 1996 to 2001, reported the addition would be a boost for his department.
“Currently we contact either the Panola County or Calhoun County sheriff departments for assistance. I am very thankful for their ongoing assistance, but having one of our own would be a big boost for our department,” Humphreys explained. He noted that the time it takes to transport a dog from a neighboring department can cost vital time during a search operation and having a dog on duty would also assist in routine narcotics investigations day in and day out.
The sheriff said the dog would be assigned to deputy Taylor Byford, who will also receive training and certification as a handler.
“I can tell you from first-hand experience, it is a huge responsibility to be a handler. It’s a 24-hour, seven day a week responsibility and he is committed to it,” Humphreys added.
To donate, you can drop a check by the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department on Hwy. 32 (across from BorgWarner). The check must be made out to “Friends of the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department.” The sheriff also said to denote the check is earmarked for purchasing a drug dog.