Cost-savings measures could curb K9 program

Andrea Rose
Greencastle Police Officer Keith Russell and K9 officer Rony perform a drug investigation at Greencastle-Antrim High School.

Greencastle Borough officials are considering shedding the K9 program as a cost-cutting measure and it's got some members of the police department scratching their heads.

Two of borough council's advisory boards will discuss eliminating the police department's K9 program and sending K9 officer Rony to the curb.

"The borough is looking at retiring him as a cost-cutting measure. This plan is not endorsed by the police department or his handler," said Police Chief John Phillippy.

The borough currently employs four full-time officers, including the chief and six part-time officers, in addition to the K9.

The 9-year-old Czech German shepherd has served the community for more than seven years and is certified for a variety of patrol duties, including narcotics tracking and building searches.

Last year, the K9 program cost the borough $7,500, which was under the projected budget.

Members of the borough's Administration/Finance Committee and Public Safety Committee will discuss the K9 program, along with other potential cost-saving measures at a joint meeting Thursday night.

The committees, which include some members of borough council, serve as advisory boards to borough council.

"Any decision that would be made Thursday would be a recommendation to borough council. Council will have to make a decision," explained Greencastle Borough Manager Eden Ratliff.

The joint meeting of the Administration/Finance Committee and Public Safety Committee will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday at Rescue Hose Company, 842 S. Washington St., Greencastle.

The next borough council meeting is Monday at 7 p.m.

"If they were to make a decision that requires a decision, I think it would be responsible to wait until the March meeting to give them time to review notes and prepare," Ratliff said.

The March meeting of council is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 6.

Contact Andrea Rose at arose@therecordherald.com or 717-762-2151 or on Twitter @AndreaCiccociop