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Pelham police chief mulls requesting warrant article re-establishing dog unit

PELHAM — The police department has been without its own canine unit for three years, relying instead on state police and mutual aid.

Police Chief Joseph Roark recently told selectmen that he is considering bringing forward a warrant article for next year’s Town Meeting to gauge public interest in re-establishing the canine unit.

The chief said that the expense wouldn’t include adding a new position to the department.

“We can reassign a patrol officer. We wouldn’t need to hire anyone,” Roark said.

There would be a cost to modify a cruiser as well as the cost of the dog, training and maintenance of the dog.

“There is also the extra overtime that the officer gets each week to groom and care for the dog,” said Roark.

Selectman William McDevitt said he believed a warrant article would be worthy of discussion.

“I don’t know if I would support the warrant article. I would have to hear the whole thing,” he said.

Selectmen Chairman Edmund Gleason asked Roark to come back to the board with more concrete numbers associated with a potential article for further discussion.

“To me, the canine unit would be an enhancement of the level of service provided by the police department,” said Roark. “However, I can’t say that it is a core level service.”

While the department does have mutual aid arrangements with other towns, Roark said if the department had its own canine unit, it would be able to respond to situations more rapidly and with more flexibility.

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