New K9 on Patrol in Lamar




Spark, the latest addition to the Lamar Police Department, has been on the job with her handler, Officer Thomas Campbell since the beginning of the month. She’s identified drug contraband as recently as the 15th of this month during a search.  Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, said arrests have already been made from her ‘hits’ from drug searches.

Spark is a two year old mixed breed, female Pit Bull from Canada who has been trained as a narcotics dog. Officer Campbell explained the night she was introduced to the Lamar City Council earlier this month, “She is trained for cocaine, ecstasy, meth and heroin but not for identifying marijuana.”

Spark could have had a different outcome to her life. Campbell explained that she was one of 40 dogs rescued from an illegal dog fighting ring and a mixed martial arts fighter, learning of the situation, paid to have all 40 dogs rescued at which point she was entered into a humane society program first in Florida and then for specific training with the Animal Farm Foundation’s Sector K9 training facility in Midlothian, Texas.

Campbell said Wes Keeling, the animal trainer, works to rescue pit bulls and help channel the general public impression about them. The officer said the two year old displays a lot of energy, but has calmed down considerably since he’s been working with her in their combined training.  He told the council Keeling may come to town before the year is over to make a video of the progress she, like other pit bulls now working for police, have made since their training.

The city saved $10,000 working with the Animal Farm Foundation, as they donated the $5,000 for training and $5,000 for Spark herself. The only cost incurred by the city was for travel expenses for Officer Campbell.  Past K9s that have been in the Lamar Police Department have cost as much as $12,000 for the total program, although more recently, some of those costs have been eliminated through local donations. “We may be able to have more dogs in service in Lamar through this program,” Campbell said, adding, “If we do good work, I’d like to see the council vote to give the position back for the K9 unit with a dog handler on each shift.”

By Russ Baldwin


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