Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kasey Stanish and the Sheriff’s Department is seeking public support for a K-9 program. Stanish has purchased K-9 Nala and has been working with her to become the first K-9 the department has had since 2014 and the first full-time K-9 the department has had in several years.
“90 percent of the expenses for the K-9 are coming out of her own pocket,” Sheriff Ron Long told the Daily Guide in an interview Wednesday morning.
Stanish is hoping, with the community’s support, that she and Nala will be able to become certified through a 120 hour, Missouri POST credited program that is held at a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) federally licensed law enforcement training center.
Currently, there is no budget to support a K-9 program for the county, something that could change if the law enforcement tax is passed. Unfortunately, the program Stanish and Nala need to attend begins in September, with reporting for their needs assessment in the coming weeks.
The cost of the course is $4,195 and Stanish has set up a Go Fund Me account to try to come up with the money to pay for the course, but that isn’t the only expense Stanish has for Nala. Nala is required to have regular veterinarian visits, continuing training, she will need a bullet proof vest, smaller expenses such as certain types of leads for various situations, special boots made to protect her feet on asphalt and other conditions, her day-to-day upkeep, and other little things.
Long said, of Stanish, “She’s doing a great job, she’s very motivated and very dedicated. Her ultimate goal is to get certified. In order to be certified, you have meet some very stringent qualifications.”
Nala proved her worth to the Sheriff’s Department Tuesday night during the search for a 10 year-old girl missing near Crocker. According to Long and Stanish, Nala was able to pick up the girl’s scent and help track her.
Stanish told the Daily Guide that Nala did really well as officers coordinated efforts to close in the girl’s location. Nala was not the one who found her, seven miles from her home, but was on her trail and a part of the search team to narrow down her location.
“People have no idea the expanse of usage of a K-9. A K-9 can be used for two very important things and this is to detect drugs and explosives, as well as track individuals that have been lost or kidnapped,” Long said.
Stanish said she believed the department “really needed a K-9” and it has always been her dream to be a K-9 trained officer, which is why she made the initial purchase of Nala.
“What’s $2,000 when it can help the community?” Stanish said of the purchase. Stanish, who works a second job in addition to her job as a deputy, said she feels a K-9 is an important asset to the department.
The training program Stanish is hoping to attend will certify her and Nala as “full patrol certified” with training in general searching, article searching (such as finding a weapon that has been thrown out), fugitive search, narcotics, and search and rescue.
“We just appreciate what she does, by donating her time, the time she uses to train is on her own free time, and money out of her own pocket. She’s giving her time and her own money to better serve her community,” Long said.
Of Nala, Stanish said she has a great personality, calling her a “social butterfly,” but disciplined enough to where she would work when it was time to work. Nala is a two and a half-year-old Belgian Malinois, a favorite breed among police departments, who graduated from an eleven month course at the Tom Rose School near St. Louis to become a K-9.
Stanish was able to negotiate a reduced price for Nala’s purchase after “cutting a deal” with her owner. The owner had originally planned to use Nala in competitions for K-9’s, but felt it wouldn’t be fair to the dog because “she wanted to work.” Stanish had to promise to keep the original owner updated on Nala’s progress and bring her to visit occasionally.
A video demonstration of Nala and Stanish is available at www.waynesvilledailyguide.com along with the online version of this story. Individuals interested in donating to help fund the K-9 program can visit the Sheriff’s Department or the Treasurer’s office to drop off donations or donate through Go Fund Me at https://www.gofundme.com/28wd8ak. Those that stop into the Sheriff’s Department or the Treasurer should let them know they’re donating for the K-9 fund and can get a tax write-off slip.