Deputy Sheriff Carl Ballengee believes a police dog would be an important addition to rural law enforcement. Ballengee has considerable experience with police dogs, more recently with "Luken," an imported Belgian Malinois (mal-in-wa) owned by Malcolm Cottrill of Charleston. Sheriff Allen Parsons department has used the dogs to sniff for illegal drugs.

"Luken" with Malcomb Cottrill (L) and Deputy Carl Ballengee (R)

Ballengee and Sheriff Parsons are working toward obtaining a $7500 grant, which could be used for training and the purchase of a dog. "Most police dogs are trained for footprint to footprint tracking, building searches and illegal drug location," said Ballengee. While most animals are "attack trained," passive tracking is needed for the dog to be effective, he said.

Most police dogs require a $10,000 investment.

"We are planning on giving some public demonstrations of police dog skills," he said. "Police dogs become effective partners in rural areas where funds are scarce for two officer responses."

He is hopeful the money can be raised for the Calhoun Sheriff's Department and he can enroll in a school which teaches the owner and the dog the necessary skills to search, protect and defend.

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