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Published November 07, 2011, 09:56 PM

Request for K-9 Unit has Barnes County at odds

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - A Barnes County Sheriff's Deputy wants to add a K-9 unit to the department, saying it would be a tool to keep the community safe. But not everyone is on board with this proposal.

A Barnes County Sheriff's Deputy wants to add a K-9 unit to the department, saying it would be a tool to keep the community safe. But not everyone is on board with this proposal.

Just off I-94, nestled in the valleys of eastern North Dakota, you'll find Barnes County. A safe area, one that Deputy Scott Crump wants to make even safer.

Deputy Scott Crump – Barnes County Sheriff’s Deputy: "Any increase of manpower is needed in our dept."

Crump is approaching commissioners with a proposal for a K-9 unit. The dog would be trained to attack, search people and sniff out things like narcotics.

Deputy Scott Crump: "A small film canister full put inside a two story house how much manpower would it take to search that house, it would be hours with manpower unlike a canine unit it would be minutes."

Deputy Crump says there have been search incidents in the past year where deputies could have used a canine. But not everyone is convinced.

The Barnes County Sheriff's Department currently has five deputies. Some say a Canine Unit would stretch that staff even thinner.

Phil Leitner – Barnes County Board of Commissioners: "Do we have to add another deputy if we get this dog? If you increase staff to have this dog that $15,000 dog costs us $100,000."

Another concern: Liability.

Phil Leitner: "If the dog were to attack some person the county would be liable for that."

Deputy Scott Crump: "A well trained canine unit will not do anything that a handler will not tell it to do."

Whether or not, there will be a unit remains to be seen. Commissioners are still talking debating the matter and there's no timeline for making a decision. The North Dakota State Patrol may get a canine unit in Barnes County. If that's the case, the unit would be available for deputies to use, but it would only be trained to search drugs.

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