Landis police officer asks town board to reconsider a canine interdiction program
By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS ó Landis Police Officer Roger Hosey hopes the Board of Aldermen will reconsider it’s position against a canine interdiction program.
The decision sparked much debate between board members and law enforcement at Tuesday’s meeting.
Hosey spoke about the program and the possibility it offers the town to keep money confiscated in drug seizures to help fund the police dog program.
The board tabled the decision for future consideration.
Hosey explained that he would function as a dog handler and, along with other agencies, Landis would patrol parts of Interstate 85. The dog would also be used on patrol in the town and at the schools.
The officer mentioned a grant program with Milkbone and Food Lion which would award $10,000 to a law enforcement agency to fund a canine program.
He pointed out that the Salisbury Police Department has received the grant in the past.
When a person is caught with illegal drugs and cash during a traffic stop, that person pays a tax to the government, 75 percent of which goes to the arresting law enforcement agency, he said.
This money is paid out over a quarter, Hosey said.
“It’s an opportunity to make the people who are committing these crimes pay,” he said.
Landis Alderman Tony Hilton said he could not agree to have Landis officers patrolling the interstate and he didn’t think the department needed a police dog. He also expressed concern that authorities would falsely seize cash from a person carrying around large sums of money legitimately, and relayed concerns from Landis residents that they don’t see enough police presence.
Hilton’s other concern was what would happen to the police dog if Hosey left the department.
Hosey said he took his job seriously and had no intention of leaving for what Hilton called a “better offer.”
“I’ve had better offers and I’m still here,” Hosey said.
Alderman James Furr said his only objections to the idea were that Landis was not located near an Interstate exit and if the town entered into the interdiction program with its neighbors, it would have to split the profits while bearing the brunt of the cost for the dog.
Alderman Roger Safrit said he was quite impressed with the program and thought it was a good idea.
“It’s an opportunity for the Police Department to make some money,” Safrit said.
Wadesboro Police Chief Vance Johnson, whose department is part of an interdiction program, tried to quell some of the board’s fears.
Johnson said that when he was with Henderson Police Department, the interdiction team seized millions of dollars. His current department recently received $14,000 from seizures.
“There’s a lot of benefit to this. It’s been extremely successful,” he said.
He said the only way a money seizure should happen is if there is the nexus between drugs and money.
“What better use for drug dealers’ money than to put it back into public service,” Johnson said.
His department is looking into purchasing computers with their money. Johnson, who has worked as a canine handler, said a dog could, if needed, be retrained with another handler.