Patrolman Kenny Hill left for 24 days of intensive canine handler training at Northern Michigan Canine School, Harrison, Mich., Monday afternoon.
"The number one reason I wanted to do this is because I want to help combat the drug problem facing our community," Hill said. "I'm really excited about this."
Hill, who conducts drug education talks with students, is looking forward to being able to take his new partner into local schools and home.
"The dog will be a great tool to reach out to children," Hill said, adding that he will meet his 3-year old female partner when classes begin on Tuesday.
"Once I take possession of the dog, we will be together from then on. Her name is Ahnya, but I'm not sure how to spell it yet. We will be able to come home on the weekends to visit family and then she will live with us."
Hill is looking forward to the daily training routine with his new partner and developing a close relationship with Clay County Sheriff's Dept. Canine Officer Josh Clarke.
"Clarke is a good handler and I'm looking forward to working with him," Hill said.
Averaging $15,000, implementing a K-9 program can be costly, but left over drug seizure funds from when the department had a drug dog several years ago combined with deferral funds allowed the purchase of the dog and a 2004 Durango to be used as a canine unit for the dog.
Although the program is under way, Harrison said the department will be accepting public or private donations to help divert future costs of the program and a possible purchase of a second canine.
Police Chief Terry Harrison said another factor in the purchase was support from the Mayor's Office.
"Mayor Ann Bradshaw was quite adamant about getting this program up and running when she took office," Harrison said. "She recognized the need for the department to have a dog of its own."
The Clay County Sheriff's Department has a drug dog, but Harrison said there is strength in numbers.
"We plan on working and training hand in hand with other agencies with this dog." Harrison said. "The more tools to combat drug problems and crime in our community, the better off for law enforcement."
"I'm really proud we were able to bring this program to a reality," Bradshaw said.
"This is something that we have worked hard to achieve since I came into office. I will be excited to see the dog come back to Brazil. I know Patrolman Hill will do a great job."