By Heather Beyer
STOW: Mayor Sara Drew officially swore in three members of the police departments K-9 unit Friday morning.
Officer Ted Bell and his K-9 partner, Nero, officer Steve Miller and his K-9 partner, Colt and officer Erik Dirker and his K-9 partner, Spectrum, were each officially sworn in front of their fellow officers and families.
“I’m very happy that we did it because it gives them the recognition and the official permanence that they deserve,” Drew said. “I was happy to do it.”
Stow’s K-9 Unit was established in 1994 as a means to bring additional police services to the community.
According to Chief Dirker, the K-9 Unit’s are trained to track and apprehend criminal suspects as well as missing persons and they are able detect the presence of narcotics.
“They do everything,” Chief Dirker said “they are very loyal to their handlers.”
Stow Police Department reports that its K-9 unit handled or assisted in over 850 incidents including traffic stops, tracks, building searches, demonstrations, drug sweeps and calls for service; everything from suspicious persons to burglaries.
In 2006, a K-9 team led by Bell and Miller checked hundreds of vehicles for narcotics that resulted in numerous charges and arrests.
In 2007, two K-9 teams were responsible for charging or assisting in more than 324 drug offenses.
Officer Erik Dirker and his K-9 partner, Spectrum, attended training in Wapakoneta in March.
Spectrum is now a full service K-9 and is certified in drug detection, suspect apprehension and tracking. The addition of Officer Dirker and Spectrum will allow the Stow Police Department to have a K-9 Unit on each of the three patrol shifts.
The purchase of the dog and the training of Officer Dirker and Spectrum were funded by a donation from Rick Schultz of Spectrum Surgical, for which the K-9 is named after.
The Stow Police Department K-9 Units have been funded by donations from businesses and residents of the city of Stow.