The Woodville Police Department recently added a new member to its staff.
He is a short-haired Dutch Shepherd imported from Belgium and has been named Raider.
About two or three years ago, Chief Roy Whitehead started thinking about bringing back a K-9 unit to the department as the drug activity in the area began to increase.
Having a K-9 unit “comes with its share of concerns but getting the drugs off the street and out of town is now our main concern,” the chief said.
A year or so ago, Officer Steve Gilkerson became interested in being the handler if the department did get a dog, he added.
When the dog arrived in Woodville, Officer Gilkerson decided the name Raider seemed like a perfect fit for the dog.
The purchase of Raider was funded through donations from local business and community members. His upkeep will be funded with money from the department’s drug fund that receives money from drug arrests.
Chief Whitehead believes the fund is sufficient to maintain the dog and that there should be no cost to the tax payers.
He plans on using Raider for vehicle inspections, drug interdictions and even public relations.
Lone Wolf K-9, Inc. is handling the dog’s training, which started Feb. 15, and will include narcotics detection, tracking and patrol.
Raider’s training will last approximately 90 days before Officer Gilkerson trains with him for another three to five weeks.
Chief Whitehead said he plans to hold a meet and greet sometime after Raider returns to Woodville,
This is not the first dog the department has had.
From 2002 to February 2006, there was a dog named Bruno who retired into the care of his officer in charge when the officer left the department.