EDITORIAL: Police canines pull their weight

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The News does an admirable job of reporting on the successes – and the occasional failure – of police officers, but we can’t remember the last time we singled out the work of police dogs.

There are three of them at work in Perry County. Trooper Mark Lehmkuhler’s German shepherd Brote, Tell City Patrolman Derrick Lawalin’s German shepherd Jago and Cannelton Police Department Sgt. Lee Hall’s Eric.

All three dogs have proven abilities to detect narcotics and collectively have led to the seizures of narcotics and cash worth many tens of thousands of dollars.

Hall’s dog is in his first year of service but has already proven his abilities. Brote has been in service the most years and has a record of drug detection and finding suspects.

We are most familiar with the work of Jago and Lawalin, whose combined dedication has led to multiple arrests, including one reported on Thursday’s front page that included the arrest of a Kentucky man with more than $3,000 in cash and crystal methamphetamine. Jago has also helped to apprehend suspects and find missing people.

Keeping dogs at the top of their game is hard work and in addition to the usual chores of feeding and grooming animals, there is regular training. Some officers receive some compensatory time off work for their efforts but we know they put in hours for which they receive no extra pay.

Our communities are kept safer by these dogs and their handlers. To officers and their four-legged helpers, we extend our thanks.

Keep up the good work.