Lamar Co. seeking donations for new K-9

By HASKEL BURNS,

The Lamar County Sheriff’s Department is looking to add a new officer of the four-legged variety, and the public is invited to help in that endeavor.

The department is seeking donations for a new K-9 officer, which would cost $16,000. The purchase of a new dog would bring the department’s K-9 count to five, allowing each patrol shift to have a K-9 available.

“We’re one short, so we have one patrol shift that does not have a K-9,” Sheriff Danny Rigel said. “We like to have one on all shifts, so we don’t have to call somebody out.”

The K-9 would be considered Dual Purpose, meaning it would function in narcotics detection, patrol functions and tracking.

“When you’re chasing somebody you have to arrest, a lot of times it’s better to have one on duty (rather) than call the deputy out and get the dog out, because time is of the essence on finding and locating (people),” Rigel said. “The longer you wait, the harder it is to find a person.”

Donations of any amount are accepted and are tax deductible, and can be dropped off or mailed to the sheriff’s office at 205 Main St. #B in Purvis. There is no timeline to buy the new K-9, as officials will wait until the $16,000 is raised.

Rigel said the addition of a new dog would be especially helpful given the heat of the summer and fall months.

“In hot weather, the dogs wear out pretty quick – they’re just like anybody else if they’re tracking for a long time,” he said. “If we have multiple K-9s, we can stagger them, relay each other, and put a fresh dog in.

“And we’re called on by several neighboring jurisdictions for help with our dogs, so they’re invaluable.”