Chief Brian Frieda presented at the rotary club Monday morning their new program to bring back a Sweetwater K9 Unit, after it was removed more than three years ago. The funds came in to purchase the dogs and equipment with the help of several community members. On Saturday, two narcotic Belgian Malinois, Dana and Stalin, were shipped from the Netherlands to Dallas.
"There has been an increase of narcotics going around the city and we needed the K9 program for quite some time," Chief Frieda said.
Marijuana is still the most prevalent drug, however, cocaine and methamphetamine are high and heroine has also been on the rise, according to Chief Frieda.
He adds that there has been several encounters with those using synthetic marijuana. As far as when drug increases occur, Chief Frieda says it is usually around income tax return time.
"These dogs will act as officers and sniff out stuff that we may not be able to find," Officer Dan Olds said.
Olds and another Sweetwater officer have been chosen to handle the new dogs. Both men are new to the K9 unit, but are excited to take on the challenge.
"There is a lot of work and commitment that goes into this," Olds said, "I am basically a blank slate."
The narcotic dogs, which costs approximately $9,000 each, are needing formal training with their new handlers for four to five weeks. Aside from that, Olds says they will probably be doing an additional one-hour training every day.
The Abilene Police Department also received a new dual-purpose dog on Saturday named Zeke. Sweetwater PD says they are thankful APD has helped them in the process of bringing the new dogs in.