Young County Sheriff's Office wants to bring back K9 unit

YOUNG COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - The Young County Sheriff's Office is looking to add a K9 unit to its staff. The last dog in the K9 unit retired at the end of 2013.

Now, the sheriff's office wants to bring it back, to help serve the people that live there.

Leo Payne has lives in Young county. He has seen an increase in crime over the last four years.

"There was a lot less violent crime four years ago," said Payne. "In the county and just outside around the town."

Current Sheriff, Travis Babcock, was the handler for the last K9 unit in the county until he retired from the K9 unit in 2014.

He knows first hand their capabilities and said these dogs will help keep drugs off the streets.

Which is why at a recent meeting with Young County Commissioners, Babcock asked commissioners to consider bringing the unit back to the county.

"With every tool that we use and that we can have it helps us to combat that problem," said Babcock.

Right now, if the sheriff's office pulls over a car that they believe might have drugs inside they have to call the another department and ask to borrow a dog.

Many times those dogs are unavailable and they have to let the car go. Search and rescue is another area where a dog can make a difference.

"We've had three incidents in the last month where we could have had a K9 right there," said Babcock.

People in the community said they want to see these dogs back in the county.

"If it proves that they have issues frequent enough to where they would need drug dogs then I don't think it should be that big of an issue," said Jack Lowery, who lives in Young county.

"Whether they're drug or search and rescue I think it's a necessary thing," said Payne.  "It's safer and I don't mind paying for safer."

There will not be a decision on whether or not to bring back the K9 unit at the sheriff's office until the first part of September at the next budget meeting.

If passed, it will cost the sheriff's office around $40,000 for the dogs and equip the vehicles. The office hopes to raise the money through grants and donations.

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