Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Crimestoppers may buy dog for Tucumcari Police Department


December 23, 2014

QCS Senior Writer

The Tucumcari Crimestoppers organization is considering purchasing and leasing to the Tucumcari Police Department a police dog capable of narcotics detection and helping with searches for fleeing suspects and missing persons.

The K-9 program, using police dogs, has been very successful for the Tucumcari Police Department, Tucumcari Police Chief Jason Braziel said, and has benefited all of Quay and portions of Guadalupe County.

“We would hate to see it go by the wayside,” said Braziel.

Currently Cpl. Dennis Garcia is the handler for “Toro” though Garcia will be leaving the department in January to start working in the Quay County Sheriff’s office under sheriff elect Russell Shafer.

Garcia said during the five years he has worked with Torro, they have seized over $500,000 in drugs and cash. He said he and Toro have assisted state police on Interstate 40 and law enforcement agencies in Santa Rosa.

Now, however, Toro is 8 years old and showing signs of arthritis, Braziel said. Officer Tyler Marney is in line to become the department’s next K-9 handler, but Braziel believes it is more cost-effective to bring in a new dog.

Garcia said that if Crimestoppers buys a new drug dog, Toro would retire and become a family pet.

“He is a very dedicated K-9 officer and its not a matter of if he could continue its a matter of if its best for him to continue,” Garcia said. “Toro would push through the training with Tyler, though in the long run I feel it would take a toll on him physically.”

Marney said the dog the police department is considering now would cost $8,500 and would be trained in narcotics detection and non-aggressive searching, which will help in tracking suspects who flee and in searches for missing children and adults.

Braziel said the purchase price includes the training of the dog and Marney’s training as a handler for that particular dog.

Dennis Townsend, Crimestoppers member, said by its own rules, Crimestoppers cannot purchase the dog outright and give it to police. Crimestoppers could purchase the dog and lease it to the department for $1 a year. The organization also must find out who is responsible for veterinarian care, recertification and additional training cost, Townsend said.

Braziel said the department has paid those expenses in the past.

He also said he would speak with the city commission and City Manager Jared Langenegger about the purchase and lease arrangements.


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