NEW GLASGOW - New Glasgow Regional Police Service have hired a new employee.
© SUEANN MUSICK -THE NEWS
Duane Rutledge of the New Glasgow Police Regional Service and Bandit of the K9 Unit accept a cheque from Tony Hessian, vice-president of the Kinsmen Club of New Glasgow. Bandit, who is about 16-months-old, is the newest four-leg employee of the New Glasgow Regional Police Service.
Not only will he search out drugs on command and walk for miles in search of missing persons, he is paid in chew toys.
Bandit, a 16-month-old German Shepard, has become the newest member of the department's K9 unit, but don't let the title of police officer fool you.
"He loves to play. He is so full of energy," said Bandit's partner Duane Rutledge who is the other half of New Glasgow's K9 unit.
Bandit brought to New Glasgow from a kennel in Ohio that has a good track record for producing quality police dogs. Rutledge has been working with him for months and the two are reporting to active duty. He has a bit more work to perfect his drug searches, but Rutledge is confident the young pup can get the job done.
Rutledge said having a K9 unit a valuable tool to any police department because his ability to search out weapons, drugs or missing persons cuts down on man hours in the department and lessens the amount of search time.
"Policing comes down to time, money and people," he said. "Someone might throw a gun in a field and it might take people a long time to find it whereas a dog could find it in 10 minutes."
When Bandit isn't sporting his police vest and working Rutledge, the pair are training a few hours a day and during his down time, he stays with Rutledge in a kennel at his home.
This is Rutledge's second dog with the K9 unit. His nine-year-old German Shepard Ekko recently retired after eight years of service and passed away shortly afterwards from liver cancer.
Unlike Ekko, Bandit has a lot of puppy energy that keeps him going all day, but when it times to concentrate on work, he learns quickly and gets the job done. In addition to official police work, Bandit and Rutledge often do demonstrations in the community and for school children to teach them the value of the K9 unit.
He said a demonstration to the Kinsmen Club of Pictou County resulted in the service club donating $10,000 to the K9 unit, which helped pay for Bandit and some of his training expenses.
Now Bandit gets paid in chew toys as a reward for good behaviour and top quality pet food so he is kept as healthy and ready for duty.
"I have seven more years left here, so I hope he and I will retire together," said Rutledge.