JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Johnstown Police Department is adding another K-9 to the department.
15-month old, Terror, was purchased from K-9 trainer Robby Hermans. Hermans, a Florida resident, made the trip up to assist with the training.
“There’s no other job like it,” says Johnstown Police Sgt. Michael Plunkard.
Plunkard has served with the department for 18 years, and he’s been in the K-9 unit for the past 12 years.
The unit now has four K-9’s and Terror is now learning narcotics detection, but that won’t be his only job.
“The number one job he does is patrol function where he goes out and finds and locates bad guys.”
This week’s training is all about learning smells.
“What you see here today is K-9 Terror getting used to the odor of those narcotics.”
To help him get used to these smells, they’ve created a game for him.
“It’s a matter of teaching the dog that their ball smells a certain way. Introducing the odor of narcotics into or with that ball.”
After some time, they will take the ball away.
“Now he’s just finding the narcotic smell and when he does that, he gives us an indication. He sits or he lays down when he finds his odor.”
Sgt. Plunkard says it will probably be another month before Terror is ready for his certification test, but even after, he says it’s training that never ends.
“We constantly train every day with these dogs for the life of the dog. If we don’t continue to train that dog, he’s not going to be the best that he can at that job.”
K-9’s typically cost around $9,000 and all of that money comes from donations and fundraisers.
Right now, Johnstown Police are having a T-shirt fundraiser to help with some of those costs. More information on how to get your shirt or donate can be found by visiting their Facebook page.