Cass County Sheriff’s Office to get new K-9s

CASSOPOLIS — Two new four-legged employees will soon be joining the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday, during its regularly scheduled board meeting, the Cass County Board of Commissioners approved the Cass County Sheriff’s Office to purchase a new K-9 unit for tracking, as well as an additional K-9 unit for the patrol division. The initial costs and training for the K-9s are not to exceed $28,000, but Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke estimated the cost would be lower, closer to $20,000. Following the initial costs, Behnke estimated a cost of $15,000 per year per K-9 in equipment costs, which would decrease after three years.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office has utilized a patrol K-9 for the last 19 years. Currently, the department has K-9 Faust, which is handled by Deputy David Nevins. Faust is used as a partner in patrol settings for drug enforcement and tracking purposes. The sheriff’s office also has two tracking bloodhounds, Nellie and Britton, and a therapy dog, Baxter, which is used in the courts to help soothe crime victims.

According to a letter sent from Sheriff Behnke to County Administrator Jeff Carmen, K-9 Faust has developed an injury to his shoulder and leg that has hampered his effectiveness. As a result, it has been recommended that the department begin phasing Faust out of service.

“This is not a real surprise since a patrol canine is usually in service around eight to 10 years,” Behnke said. “We would like to retire Faust and train a new canine, plus add another patrol canine to our patrol division. This would give us coverage seven days a week and allow us to be more responsive to needs as they arise.”

Behnke said his office has been in contact with FMK9 in Berrien Center regarding the new K9s’ training. FMK9 has serviced the federal government and several law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including Berrien County and St Joseph County, Indiana.

“By having a local vendor, it will save many of the costs associated with training including not having to put the deputy in a hotel for training and recertification,” Behnke said.

The resolution to approve the K9s was approved unanimously by all commissioners.

In other news regarding the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, commissioners Thursday approved the installation of a Dynamic Air Filtration System at the Cass County Jail, which would provide clean air throughout the building. The total cost of the project was approved at $34,986.

News

Niles hosts town hall between community, law enforcement

Berrien County

Berrien County Commissioners respond to mask mandate

Berrien County

Local talent development leader honored by Michigan Works! Association

Dowagiac

SMC attracts more than $4 million in grants

Business

Downtown Niles to welcome new dance studio

Berrien County

MEC accepting applications for Strengthening Schools Grant program

Dowagiac

Dowagiac City Council, Cass County Transit Authority renew Transit Operating Agreement

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 976,505 cases, 20,535 deaths

Breaking News

Dowagiac police arrest suspect in Monday hit and run crash

News

Niles City Council approves social district permits

Business

Niles muralist brightening downtown

Buchanan

Buchanan commissioners decline to pay annual dues to Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce

Berrien County

Man arrested after standoff in Niles

Cass County

Police investigating Porter Township crash

Berrien County

Former Niles marijuana business partner pleads guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct

Cass County

Dowagiac police investigate hit-and-run crash

Berrien County

South Bend man gets prison for drunk driving

Business

Under the Harvest Moon festival to bring back scarecrow contest

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 10-13

Berrien County

Former Brandywine teacher sentenced to probation on charges of accosting a child for immoral purposes

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland earns national recognition for stroke treatment

News

Niles Police Log: Aug. 31-Sept. 4

Buchanan

PHOTO STORY: Buchanan remembers 9/11

Cass County

First responders, community members gather for Pokagon 9/11 memorial ceremony