Officer Ruko and his partner Sgt. Shane Towe (center), will be working with Police Chief Tony Wood (left) on drug and community related issues. (Telegram Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)
Officer Ruko and his partner Sgt. Shane Towe (center), will be working with Police Chief Tony Wood (left) on drug and community related issues. (Telegram Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)



For the first time in the long history of the McArthur Police Department, the organization now has its own K9 Unit. During an afternoon informational session with the media, Police Chief Tony Wood and Sgt. Shane Towe explained K9 Unit Officer Ruko is owned by Sgt. Towe who bought the dog shortly after it was born.

Sgt. Towe explained the dog was purchased from the Precession Kennel in Nitro, W.Va. and was kennel certified the previous week and state certified that week. Sgt. Towe explained Ruko passed narcotics detection and tracking with a 100 percent grade and he and the dog are trained as a team. The commands to the dog are given in German.

The dog is trained to listen only to its master, even if someone else give a command to it in German. The expenses associated with the dog are being split as the village pays for the training as well as the veterinary bills while Sgt. Towe pays for food. Chief Wood explained the dog can assist the department in many key services both in crime detection and community service work.

On the criminal side, the chief pointed out the dog can be used to catch people transporting drugs. His picking up the scent gives the department the legal right to enter a vehicle in lieu of a search warrant. He also stated any money the department receives because of the dog's detection can be used to file for a forfeiture action and the department can collect the money and use it for specified anti-drug or drug prevention activities. Ruko and Towe can also, if requested to, go through the high school and search lockers. Sgt. Towe stated he has received information from the Oak Hill Police Department about how much money can be recovered.

On the community service side, Chief Wood explained the tracking aspect comes in when the dog would he needed to find someone who gets lost in the woods or maybe to help find a child or senior citizen who wandered away from their residence. He also wants the dog to be a community dog that kids can pet.

"He is a very friendly dog until it comes time to get serious," said the Wood.

Wood said as long as Sgt. Towe is available, the dog can be used by the Sheriff's Department which is currently looking to replace their dog, or neighboring police departments. Again, the dog must be handled by Sgt. Towe because that is how the training is set up. When the dog retires, he will live with Sgt. Towe for the rest of his life.

Sgt. Towe, who has been with the department for a year, is excited about being the canine officer and believes the service will be a positive one for village residents. The dog will make an overall better police department.

Wood also says the addition of the dog is a milestone for the department as it fights crime in the 21st century.