NEW PALESTINE, Ind. – A new fundraising campaign is underway to bring another police dog to central Indiana. Leaders at the New Palestine Police Department said they want a dog to work overnight and help keep drugs out of their community.
According to Sergeant Thomas Evans, the department last had a police dog nearly 20 years ago. However, when that handler retired, the dog moved on, too.
Now, the department's lone officer that works overnight could soon have a canine partner.
"I want a dual-purpose dog," said Officer Tyler Batton. "It’s going to be able to track and apprehend and then it will also be a narcotic detection dog."
Batton approached his bosses on the force about getting a dog to work with him. The police chief asked him to bring a proposal to the New Palestine Town Council, which supported the plan, as long as the police department could find the money to buy and train the dog.
It's expected to cost between $20,000 and $25,000. A GoFundMe is underway to help the department raise the funds. Other fundraisers are in the works to help the department reach its goal.
A dog working the roads would give Batton an extra layer of security. Batton said he's made over 600 traffic stops in 2018.
"There are times where his nearest backup could be 20-25 minutes away," said Evans. "Knowing that he has that canine partner with him, and that close relationship the canine handler gets with their animals, and just having that dog with him gives me a peace of mind at night."
Evans said the dog would likely get plenty of work searching for narcotics.
Law enforcement teams that work I-74 and I-70 have told the New Palestine police that people driving drugs across country tend to exit the interstate and use less traveled roads, such as U.S. 52 and S.R. 9 that run through town.
"You have interdiction teams running criminal interdiction on I-74 and I-70 and that word gets around to the criminal community," Evans said.
New Palestine is less than eight miles away from both interstate highways.
The police department hopes to raise the money needed to have a new police dog in place sometime during the summer of 2019.