Dewey can’t wait to be out on the streets again and he owes it all to the very people he helps put behind bars — drug dealers and users.
With nearly $18,000 in drug forfeiture funds, Argentine Township police will be able to cover training and other costs for its first K-9 dog.
“The problem we are seeing out here is marijuana first and foremost,” Police Chief Daniel Allen said.
“In the evenings and on the weekend, one out of six stops have marijuana in the car, if not more.”
Dewey is trained to detect narcotics and can be a big help in getting pot and other drugs off the street.
And he’s just itching to get back to work.
The 7-year-old German shepherd, — who previously worked with the Linden, Mt. Morris and Byron police departments — hasn’t been on the job for about six months and is getting a bit stir crazy.
“He’s ready to come back,” said Argentine Township Officer Doug Fulton, who owns Dewey. “He’s been driving me nuts. Every day he gets wound up when I Ieave to go to work.”
Dewey spent his first 2 1/2 years learning the ropes in Hungary before arriving in America. He comes to Argentine Township with an impressive service record.
He found 11 pounds of marijuana inside the trunk of a vehicle in Mt. Morris Township and tracked down the suspect, who was hiding inside an abandoned vehicle behind a house.
He also tracked an Alzheimer’s patient who walked out of a Mundy Township house in 30-degree weather.
“He’s a superstar in tracking,” said Fulton, who has been with Dewey since 2004.
Fulton’s four-legged partner knows the job comes with risks. In 2005 Dewey suffered bruised ribs and lacerations after he was kicked repeatedly by a drunken driver who fled police.
Dewey is expected to join Argentine’s police force in April, at a time when more populated and more crime-plagued communities have cut back on dogs. There’s only about a half dozen police dogs in Genesee County, with the closest K-9 in Grand Blanc Township.
Police chiefs who said goodbye to the dogs have stated the program was too expensive or they couldn’t afford to give their full-time officers days off for training.
Argentine Township, though, doesn’t have those same worries because Dewey’s cost will be covered through drug forfeiture funds, not the general budget. Fulton, who works part-time, will continue to be paid out of the police department’s budget, Allen said.
Some start-up costs include about $350 to get Dewey recertified, $500 for insurance and $4,000 to equip a police vehicle with a kennel, Fulton said.
If all goes well, the department could see another K-9 help patrol the streets.
Another part-time officer works full-time with his dog at the Perry Police Department.
Allen said he would like to work out an agreement for the dog to assist in Argentine Township as well.
Township Board Trustee Tom Hallman said having Dewey on the force will be an asset to the community.
“Unfortunately, when the economy is in the shape it’s in, drug abuse goes up higher and … (Dewey) will be a deterrent,” he said.