By CLINT FOSTER
It’s no secret that a man’s best friend is his dog.
Now, thanks to a unanimous decision by the Mineral Wells City Council in a regular meeting Tuesday night, the men and women of the Mineral Wells Police Department will soon have a new dog joining their ranks.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan presented a resolution to council members, authorizing MWPD to select and purchase a K-9 narcotics detection dog from Worldwide Canine, Inc.
Sullivan said a dog for a narcotics interdiction officer – which will cost around $8,000, as police dogs are a specialty industry – is allotted in the city’s 2013-14 fiscal year budget and will be paid for out of MWPD’s seized funds.
Sullivan told the Index that the MWPD has been without a dog since their Labrador, named Black, retired last spring.
At 10 years old, Black suffers from hip dysplasia and has dealt with multiple other issues including two heart worm infections.
Sullivan said after the second round of heart worms, which are treated with arsenic, Black’s sense of smell was compromised and it was time for him to leave the force.
After all of Black’s issues with heart worms, Sullivan insisted that the Mineral Wells Police Department’s new dog would have a new handler he has hand-selected and will ensure that he works closely with their veterinarian and the dog receives all of the proper heart-worm-prevention medication.
Worldwide Canine will offer a wide variety of breeds for Mineral Wells Police Department to chooses from that specialize in all different kinds of police work.
Sullivan said the company is very reputable with respect to narcotics and a lot of agencies nationwide use them.
“This is a narcotics dog, it’s not an attack dog,” he said. “This is a dog we can take into our schools and feel comfortable that it’s not going to have a bad day and bite one of our children.”
Sullivan said the department has yet to decide on a breed, but the dog will be two years old and straight from Germany.
Worldwide Canine matches each handler with his or her ideal K-9 partner, as officer usually spend two weeks with any given dog before purchase to determine if they are the right match.
The dog MWPD chooses will need to specialize in detecting primarily marijuana and methamphetamine.
Sullivan said its handler will also be a specialized officer with advanced knowledge of narcotics, interrogation, following intuition and the ability to take care of themselves in remote parts of the county without readily available backup.
In the wake of the recent area drug raids, Sullivan said that having a narcotics dog is important so that the MWPD can stay ahead of the curve.
“Based on the research, as [Interstate] 20 heats up, it’s a logical conclusion that dope is coming out of Mexico, up [U.S. Highway] 281, shooting across [U.S. Highway] 380 and dropping down into those Metroplex areas,” he said. “It may be going directly to Dallas up Interstate 35 or through Mexia, but we’re just following the obviously example that maybe some of those loads are coming here. We’re just trying to change up our tactics.”
Sullivan said he hopes to have the new dog join the ranks of MWPD officers as springtime.
In other business, council members:
• Unanimously approved an ordinance abandoning an undeveloped portion of NW 3rd Street in the Slaughter and Barbara West Addition. Richard Kidwell, who owns property on either side of the undeveloped street, was in support of the abandonment so that he could convert it into a private drive way for a home he plans to build soon. Previously, Kidwell’s neighbors stood in opposition of his plan.
This decision came on the heels of a public hearing and vote on the issue during a council meeting on Oct. 15.
On that date, the ordinance failed when council members voted to a 3-3 tie, much to the joy of many neighbors who came out for a public hearing to speak against the abandonment.
At that meeting, neighbors voiced their concerns to the council that Kidwell’s plans might result in building a development, destroying the natural beauty and wildlife of the area and cheapening the scenic view of those that lived on top of the hill.
Kidwell spoke in his defense Tuesday night, explaining that he only wanted to build a driveway for a home he planned to build on a plateau on the side of the hill, 60 feet below the peak.
He told council members he wants to keep the property secluded and private, preserving the heavy woods and not bulldozing into the mountain, as he said some of his neighbors implied.
• Heard a presentation from Sullivan concerning an update on the effects and impact of the changes to the Noise Ordinance.