K-9 police dog project
Four months ago, Bath Town Police Chief James Minton talked to local State Farm Insurance Agent Luke Christie to see if State Farm would support his K-9 police dog project. Christie thought it was a good idea, both from a public safety and community involvement standpoint.
Christie contacted State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Erin Bailey in the Fairmont office to see if funds were available.
Bailey pushed the proposal up the ladder to State Farm corporate headquarters. A $6,000 grant was approved through the State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship grant program. The program promotes safety, education and community development.
"In my mind, Erin (Bailey) is responsible for the grant," Christie said.
The $6,000 grant was enough to cover the cost of purchasing Butch, the town's K-9 officer. Butch has been on the job four months and is responsible for 50 to 60 drug arrests, said Corporal Craig Pearrell, Butch's handler.
"I have seen a shift in the kind of people who come to Berkeley Springs State Park each day," said Recorder Garnet Marsh, acting as Mayor in Susan Webster's absence.
"Now you see families enjoying the park like it is supposed to be," Minton said.
"The dog extends the capabilities of the investigator. The scent-discriminating abilities of a canine are better than any equipment we can take to a crime scene," Minton said.
"In addition to drugs, Butch goes on patrol, tracks missing children and suspects, conducts building searches and helps apprehend suspects. About the only thing Butch doesn't do is sniff out bombs," Pearrell said.