Hogansville PD plans to add two more dogs to K9 unit

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

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HOGANSVILLE — The Hogansville Police Department has plans to add at least two more dogs to its K9 unit in the near future.

The HPD plans to bring in a Lab and a German Sheppard by late fall. Both dogs will be trained to find narcotics.

“We’re certifying in three odors, which would be cocaine, methamphetamine and heroine,” said HPD officer John Starnes, who trains the dogs in HPD’s K9 unit. “The lab may be [a tracking dog.] Also, you have a lot of elderly people who go missing, so we’re going to go that route as well.”

Starnes said the need for the new dogs comes with Hogansville’s expected population growth over the next few years and, as more people come in, drug trafficking becomes a more concerning issue.

“We see a lot of drugs come off the interstate into this town,” Starnes said. “People bring dope from Atlanta up here and selling it. We’re never going to get rid of it, but we can at least knock it down.”

The HPD currently has two Malinois dogs in its unit, both of which are trained to locate narcotics. One, a three-and-a-half-year-old named Redo, was certified earlier in February.  Another, three-and-a-half-year-old Cola, is still in training and is expected to gain its certification soon.

The HPD wants to use Redo as a utility dog, or narcotics-tracking dog, that can bite a suspect if necessary, Starnes said. Cola, who Starnes noted was a bit more aggressive, would also be used as a utility dog as well but on a more minor level when he completes his training.

Starnes previously worked for the HPD in 2001 and trained one its original dogs, Bella. Bella was eventually retired after being diagnosed with cancer, leading the department to bring in two other dogs, Danny and Dallas, who were retired from military service.  Starnes left for Merriwether County in 2012 and had planned to retire in December 2021 but returned to the HPD on request to train the current K9s.