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A $53,000 private donation has helped the Piatt County Sheriff’s Office purchase and equip a Chevy Tahoe SUV for its K-9 unit.
Besides the extra space and four-wheel drive, the vehicle is outfitted with a heat alarm that will ensure the safety of the department’s K-9 Dutch Shepherd, “Cru.”
“If it gets too hot, (the alarm) sets off the horn, rolls down the windows and turns on a fan to make sure I know it is too hot for him,” said Nick Perrine, a Piatt County Sergeant and K-9 handler.
Cru is 6 years old and has worked for the Sheriff’s Department since 2011.
Before the recent purchase of the SUV, the K-9 unit was a typical sedan, which made it difficult to house the dog, sergeant and equipment, much less those taken into custody.
“Prisoners used to have ride in front, but now there is room in back. It makes it safer for officers,” added Perrine.
The money for the vehicle and equipment came from a private donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
“No county money was used,” emphasized Sheriff David Hunt. He added, “the sheriff’s office is able to provide the services of a working K-9 team thanks largely to generous donations such as this.”
The SUV has 4x4 capabilities, which Hunt said will be valuable during winter conditions and in areas that would not be accessible in a traditional patrol car.
DUI equipment purchases
The Sheriff’s office has also purchased two portable breath testing devices to help in DUI (driving under the influence) enforcement. These new devices allow deputies to obtain breath samples at the time of arrest, rather than waiting to get back to the county jail to use the breath testing machine there.
The equipment was paid out of the department’s DUI Equipment Fund, which comes from fines imposed on those who have been convicted of a DUI in Piatt County.