Dog days are just beginning in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Dog days are just beginning in Grass Valley

The newest addition to the Grass Valley Police Department is likely to be fuzzier and furrier than the other members on the force.

The department is set to get a new police dog this year in an effort to increase officer safety and provide a leg-up in sniffing out drugs and searching large buildings.

Police Chief Alex Gammelgard said the canine could be on the force by mid-summer. The police department must first select its new dog, which will then undergo training.

Police Officer Evan Butler will be the dog's designated handler.

Butler has always had an affinity for dogs, he said.

"I'm looking forward to having a dog with me to provide better safety to the citizens of Grass Valley and our officers," Butler said.

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Grass Valley City Council members this week approved the police canine program, including training and equipment, which is estimated to cost $91,400 for the first year, partially offset by a $24,600 donation from the Rüdiger Foundation.

The canine program will cost an additional $19,900 per year, partially offset by a $3,600 yearly donation from the Rüdiger Foundation.

The foundation is a local nonprofit which helps police departments acquire police dogs.

According to Joey Jordan, president of the Rüdiger Foundation's board of directors, police canines are a valuable asset to law enforcement officers and the community as a whole.

"They provide backup to officers on the street," she said in an email. "They are invaluable in building searches, apprehension and narcotics detection. Suspects react differently when a canine officer is on scene, diminishing the number of injuries to officers."

The foundation has also supported the Nevada City Police Department's canine, Rüdiger, and the dog's handler, Officer Michael "Scott" Goin.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.

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