LPD considering K-9 unit

October 30, 2023

LPD considering K-9 unit

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — Ludington Police Department is considering adding a K-9 (dog) unit to its services. Police Chief Chris Jones said the department is currently in the early phases of developing the K-9 unit. He said the department would rely on private donations to purchase the dog and the equipment associated with it, including a vehicle.

“Starting a K-9 unit requires an investment between $80,000 to $100,000,” Jones said. “Most of the expense is for the vehicle, which requires a special kennel along with other K-9-specific features. We are not expecting the funds for this unit to come from the city’s general fund. Instead, we are hoping to create a non-profit fund that would raise money for the creation of the K-9 unit.”

Mason County Sheriff’s Office currently has a K-9 unit.

“We have a great relationship with the sheriff’s office and, actually, the success of its K-9 is the reason why our personnel have proposed that LPD have its own unit,” Jones said. “Our K-9 unit would work a different shift than the sheriff’s office’s K-9 allowing us to maximize the use of the unit.”

Most police K-9 dogs are trained to work a variety scenarios including search and rescue, tracking, and drug detection.

Jones said he believes there is a need for the K-9 in the City of Ludington, in addition to the sheriff’s office’s K-9 unit. He said the department’s response statistics justify the need:

In 2022, LPD had 27 drug-related arrests and 29 to date in 2023.

In 2022, there were eight drug overdoses in Ludington resulting in two deaths. In 2023 there have been seven drug overdoses in Ludington resulting in two deaths.

In 2022, LPD responded to 12 missing person cases. In 2023, to date, it has responded to 10 missing person cases.

“While not every one of those circumstances may have required a K-9 unit, there are many of those types of cases where we could use it,” Jones said. “Additionally, there are several bodies of water in the city in which a K-9 unit would be useful for various emergency situations.”

Jones said he will be presenting a proposal for a K-9 to the city’s Public Safety Committee, which will then make a recommendation to City Council. While some businesses and organizations have already contributed funds toward the program, he said fund raising efforts will increase if the unit is approved by the Council.

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