GPD is ready to bring Atz home


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — On Dec. 19, Greenville Police Lt. Doug Flanery announced the city of Greenville may soon have help in finding drugs in the city and possibly throughout the county. According to Lt. Ryan Benge, the city is actively pursuing the acquisition of a narcotics detection and tracking dog for the department.

A few days before Christmas, representatives from the city went to Preble County to see the male German Wired Hair Pointer named in Atz in action. According to Flanery, Atz had been with another police department that chose not to continue with their program. That decision made this special K-9 available to the Greenville Police Department (GPD).

Lt. Benge said, “We believe he will make a major immediate impact on narcotics trafficking and criminal activity related to narcotics in our city. We also believe Atz will be a great asset for community relations in our schools and around the city at special events.”

The initial $5,000 price tag for the dog will be picked up by the Darke County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office through their Furtherance of Justice Fund as well as a grant from the American Kennel Club. The city will be responsible for additional costs, such as equipment, training, veterinarian and food. However, GPD is expecting to get a little help with some of the equipment. The Darke County Sheriff’s Department recently changed the model of their vehicles, and the department offered its vehicle cage to the police department. The total cost to the city over time is unknown.

Prior to seeing Atz for the first time, the GPD already had an officer in mind to be his partner. After checking with the officer, and the officer checking with his wife, the city determined that Patrol Officer Aaron Hall and Atz will be teamed up. Hall and Atz are expected to begin training soon and be ready for action this coming spring. Hall and his family live in the Ansonia area.

Lt. Flannery explained this dog is not a “bite dog,” which means he will not take down an offender. The city has worked closely with the Darke County Sheriff’s Department and Union City Police Department in the past to use their narcotics dogs. However, the department is reliant upon their schedule for availability. Lt. Benge pointed out the K-9s from both of those agencies have been great additions to both of those organizations as well as Darke County as a whole.

As of late last week, Atz was still in Preble County, but GPD is hoping to bring him to his new home with the Hall family soon.

Lt. Flannery told Greenville City Council that he wants the dog to be used often. He compared frequent use to that of heavy speed enforcement in a village south of Darke County. He said it caused people to slow down going through the town. By using the drug dog often, he believes it will curtail people coming to Greenville to use or sell or drugs.

Council President John Baumgardner said, “I think this is something we have all wanted. I think it will make it not as easy to do business – doing drugs or selling drugs. I’ll speak for council and say we’re very, very favorable to do this.”

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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