Macedonia -- Come October, the police department will be welcoming an addition: A new K-9 named Haro.
Police Chief Jon Golden said the new K-9 officer has begun obedience and narcotics odor training the second week of September and is set to begin working with his handler, patrolman Sean Hathaway, on Oct. 13.
Golden said Hathaway approached him about adding a K-9 unit to the department and Council authorized $18,800 to purchase and train Haro. Golden said there will be continuous costs to keep the program going, such as food and veterenary bills, and the city has established a donation fund at First Merit Bank. To make donations, residents can contact the bank and say they wish to donate to the City of Macedonia K-9 Program.
Hathaway said Haro will eventually be able to help police track suspects, with narcotics detection, missing persons search and rescue, drug detection at traffic stops and with bomb threat detection.
"A lot of the surrounding agencies have dogs and they are used quite a bit," Hathaway said. "There's always a time delay waiting for another agency to come [with their K-9] which may impact tracking and other things of that nature."
"I think it will be much more beneficial to have our own dog on hand here at the department. It reduces that time a lot," he added.
Haro will be a working member of the Macedonia Police Department with his partner Hathaway, but he will also be a member of Hathaway's family, as the two will go home together when their shift is done.
"We wanted a dog that would be very social if we take it into schools. We want it to be a very social animal," he said. "The dog will be with me at work and at home."
Hathaway said Haro will have time where he can just be a dog at home.
"You want the dog's social structure to be where he will enjoy coming into work," he said.
On Oct. 13 Hathaway and his new partner will embark on an intensive training program. The training program will include: tracking, article search building searches, basic patrol operations, obedience, suspect apprehension and drug detection. He expects it will take almost two months to complete the training.
"I've been told by a lot of handlers that it's a very rewarding," Hathaway said. "You get a great bond with the dog. It's like having a partner."
And he's also been told working with a K-9 is like "having a 5-year-old around 24/7."
Hathaway said that he is looking forward to starting this journey with Haro.
"It's a very rewarding experience," he said. "The dog gets all of his enjoyment about doing work for you. It's essentially like raising a child."
Hathaway said that he and Haro will make a public appearance once they complete their training.