ShareThis Page
Ligonier Township welcomes new police dog |

Ligonier Township welcomes new police dog

Jeff Himler
Kilo, new Ligonier Township police dog.

Ligonier Township’s new police dog is proving to be a quick study.

Kilo, a 15-month-old Belgian Malinois, was introduced at a supervisors meeting this week while he completes the training required to help revive the community’s K-9 officer program.

“He still has a lot of puppy in him, but we’re slowly working through it,” said his handler, Sgt. James Friscarella. “Normally, it’s a 12-week process to get him up and going to be on the road. But he’s doing so well that I think we’ll probably be done in 10.”

Police Chief Michael Matrunics said the dog, which was brought from the Czech Republic to Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, has been in training for about a month.

Kilo was selected from about a half dozen candidates, in large part because he isn’t overly aggressive but is expected to be able to quickly shift into patrol mode on command.

“We wanted one that was more family-friendly and yet able to turn into a proper work dog,” Matrunics said.

Friscarella said Kilo’s training includes getting used to the sound of gunfire and detecting narcotics. Practicing building searches is next on his training agenda.

Township officials are hoping Kilo and Friscarella will pick up where their predecessors, the late Lt. Eric Eslary and his K-9 partner, Blek, left off. A driver headed the wrong way on Route 30 west of Ligonier crashed head-on into the township’s K-9 vehicle on May 5, 2015, killing Eslary and injuring Blek, who has since retired.

Township manager Terry Carcella reported that the municipality’s special account to pay for the K-9 program is at nearly $31,500. Matrunics asked the public to support upcoming fundraising events to generate additional dollars for the account.

“We’re still taking care of Blek for any medical issues that may arise,” he said.

Clair Eugene Fink III, 32, of Ligonier is awaiting trial on third-degree murder and other charges related to the crash that killed Eslary. He has been held at Westmoreland County Prison without bond since his arrest.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.