SHARON Dog joins police force
The dog and his handler will leave for a six-week training program Monday.
SHARON, Pa. -- The newest member of the city's police department will spend this week getting acclimated to his new partner.
Yelle (pronounced yell-lay) is a 3-year-old, 90-pound German shepherd, the first dog to become a part of the force.
Police Chief Thomas Burke said the dog, which came from the Netherlands, has been trained to respond to commands in Dutch. The dog has dual training in searching for drugs and in tracking. He was picked up Friday in Peru, Ind.
Patrolman Jeffrey Brown will be his partner, and Yelle is spending this week bonding with him, Burke said. The dog is also visiting the police station to become familiar with some of the officers he will come into contact with when he begins his duties.
The two will leave Monday for a six-week training program before the dog is put on active duty.
The dog has been added to the force at no cost to the city, Burke said.
He has found sponsors to pay for the dog, the training, the equipment, the food and even the veterinarian bills, he said.
For example, Pet Supplies Plus of Niles has promised up to $4,000 in food over the life of the dog, Brown said.
Others have also been sending in contributions in response to news articles seeking donations, Burke said.
The cost of the dog is between $12,000 and $15,000, and the canine fund is already at nearly $18,000, he said.
The dog's services will be made available to any police department in Mercer County through a mutual aid pact, Burke said, adding that he also hopes to make arrangements to have Yelle assist the Brookfield Township Police Department in Ohio when requested.
Yelle can be used to track crime suspects but also to find lost people, do building and open space searches and even serve as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer in schools, Burke said.