McCandless’ first K9-unit dog sworn in
The newest officer to join the McCandless police force — a German shepherd from Holland named Joy — was sworn into service with his handler at his side during a ceremony at town hall.
The same swearing-in oath used for human officers was administered Nov. 27 by Councilman Ralph LaDonne, who presented Sgt. Bryan Madden with a badge that he attached to Joy’s collar.
“I’d like to thank you for your support and approval of this program, you have made a dream of mine come true,” said Madden, a 25-year veteran of the department who has 20 years experience raising and training working dogs.
“You have brought a valuable asset, not only to our police department, but the town. It will enhance the safety of our officers and the safety of our community,” said Madden, an assistant instructor at a kennel in Beaver County.
Joy was purchased from Shallow Creek Kennels in Mercer County, which also conducted the six-week training program for the newly formed K9 unit. The $14,000 price for the dog included the cost of training.
Modifying a police vehicle to transport the dog cost about $5,000 and another $1,000 was used for an initial veterinary evaluation, food and other supplies, according to police Chief David DiSanti.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said he donated $7,000 from drug forfeitures to help offset the cost developing McCandless’ K9 unit because it provides an asset in the fight against the opioid crisis.
The town also has received donations including discounted veterinary care and free food.
In a presentation to council in August, DiSanti said the K9 unit helps expand the department’s capabilities in a number of key areas, including searching for missing people, tracking fleeing suspects and assisting with narcotics searches.