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Extra fee on tickets would fund K-9 unit

Each citation issued by Panola County deputies for a moving violation will soon have an extra charge attached, with those funds earmarked for the upkeep of the county’s K-9 unit.

Emergency Operations Coordinator Daniel Cole told county supervisors at Monday’s meeting the board approved a levy of $2 three years ago to create a fund to support the expenses incurred from keeping police canines.

“If that levy is put on moving violations within a year we will have enough to take care of all the canine expenses in the county,” Cole said. He brought up the matter when asking for approval to pay for a new canine handler to attend training school for certification.

Jeremy Denley was hired by the new Sheriff’s Department administration to handle one of the county’s canines – this one specially trained for explosives detection, tracking, and search and rescue operations.

The cost of the training provided by Southern States K-9 in Petal is $5,360, including lodging and meals for the officer. It’s the same company that trained the canine officer that Denley will be using, Cole said.

“This canine is pretty young, and real athletic. He’s a great dog, we just need to get the handler trained,” he said.

The canine was purchased by the South Panola School District for Panola County, with the agreement the dog’s daily care and yearly recertification training would be covered by the Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Operations office.

Cole said the recertification process for the dog and its handler is not expensive, and could also be covered from an account funded by charges added to tickets. The most common moving violations (traffic laws broken while a vehicle is in motion) are failure to stop at lights or signs, speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Cole said his office will coordinate with the Sheriff’s Department and Justice Courts to begin collecting the additional $2 for K-9 upkeep.

The board approved the training for Denley on a 4-1 vote with District 2 supervisor Earl Burdette voting against the motion.