GPD graduates first ever K9 Unit

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Officer Aaron Hall, K9 Altz and Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker. Gaylen Blosser photo.

GREENVILLE—The Greenville Police Department graduated its first K9 Unit on Tuesday afternoon at the Darke County Sheriff’s Office.

With grant funds, the police department purchased K9 Altz from the Preble County Sheriff’s Office. K9 Altz started the training academy around late January, early February.

K9 Altz was trained to detect narcotics, and is now certified to work different shifts throughout days, evenings and even midnights.

Lt. Douglas Flannery, Officer Aaron Hall, K9 Altz and Greenville Safety/ Service Director Ryan Delk. Gaylen Blosser photo.

K9 Officer Aaron Hall said while K9 Altz is only trained in narcotics detection, and is not a bite dog.

“In fact, he’s as friendly as can be,” Officer Hall said.

Captain Matthew Lunsford, the K9 Coordinator at the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, trainer for the Darke County K9 Academy, and head trainer Southwest Regional Training Group, said due to the grant, the new unit didn’t cost citizens much.

“Short of the minimal cost of the dog, we don’t do this for money,” Captain Lunsford said. “They got the dog, and they got a grant. The citizens of Greenville have very little money, if any, invested in this.”

He added that along with the City of Greenville, he and his coworkers in Preble County are excited to place K9 Altz.

“You see the mayor and the city council here, so they were obviously excited too,” Captain Lunsford said. “We are excited to do it for them. The way I understand it, this is their first dog ever in the City of Greenville. It was nice for us to place him here. This is actually one of our dogs that we’ve had. We sold him to them, we wanted him to be here.”

Greenville Mayor Steve Willman echoed his excitement, and said the community has waited for a K9 unit for a long time.

Mayor Steve Willman, Officer Aaron Hall, K9 Altz and Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker. Gaylen Blosser photo.

“We’ve had a lot of help from the community as far as funding, getting food,” he said. “Thank you to the county for helping out, in setting up the car, the cage for traveling. It’s pretty nice to see the cooperative effort of our service people.”

Mayor Willman added that he thinks the addition of K9 Altz will deter many people from possessing narcotics.

“It’s going to be good,” he said. “I think a lot of our problems in the city with drugs, a lot of those people will have second thoughts now. We’ll see, I’m sure it’s going to help us out.”