Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jul 2008
Source: Salisbury Post (NC)
Copyright: 2008 Post Publishing Co.
Author: Shavonne Potts
Bookmark: (Drug Dogs)


LANDIS - Landis Police Officer Roger Hosey hopes the Board of Aldermen
will reconsider it's position against a canine interdiction program.
The decision sparked much debate between board members and law
enforcement at Tuesday's meeting.

Hosey spoke about the program and the possibility it offers the town
to keep money confiscated in drug seizures to help fund the police dog
program. The board tabled the decision for future consideration. Hosey
explained that he would function as a dog handler and, along with
other agencies, Landis would patrol parts of Interstate 85. The dog
would also be used on patrol in the town and at the schools. The
officer mentioned a grant program with Milkbone and Food Lion which
would award $10,000 to a law enforcement agency to fund a canine
program. He pointed out that the Salisbury Police Department has
received the grant in the past.

When a person is caught with illegal drugs and cash during a traffic
stop, that person pays a tax to the government, 75 percent of which
goes to the arresting law enforcement agency, he said.

This money is paid out over a quarter, Hosey said. "It's an
opportunity to make the people who are committing these crimes pay,"
he said.

Landis Alderman Tony Hilton said he could not agree to have Landis
officers patrolling the interstate and he didn't think the department
needed a police dog. He also expressed concern that authorities would
falsely seize cash from a person carrying around large sums of money
legitimately, and relayed concerns from Landis residents that they
don't see enough police presence. Hilton's other concern was what
would happen to the police dog if Hosey left the department.

Hosey said he took his job seriously and had no intention of leaving
for what Hilton called a "better offer."

"I've had better offers and I'm still here," Hosey said. Alderman
James Furr said his only objections to the idea were that Landis was
not located near an Interstate exit and if the town entered into the
interdiction program with its neighbors, it would have to split the
profits while bearing the brunt of the cost for the dog.

Alderman Roger Safrit said he was quite impressed with the program and
thought it was a good idea.

"It's an opportunity for the Police Department to make some money,"
Safrit said. Wadesboro Police Chief Vance Johnson, whose department is
part of an interdiction program, tried to quell some of the board's
fears. Johnson said that when he was with Henderson Police Department,
the interdiction team seized millions of dollars. His current
department recently received $14,000 from seizures.

"There's a lot of benefit to this. It's been extremely successful," he
said. He said the only way a money seizure should happen is if there
is the nexus between drugs and money.

"What better use for drug dealers' money than to put it back into
public service," Johnson said.

His department is looking into purchasing computers with their money.
Johnson, who has worked as a canine handler, said a dog could, if
needed, be retrained with another handler.
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