The Solon Police Department is poised to replace its retiring canine officer this year.

The City Council Safety and Public Properties Committee approved the purchase of a police dog from Shallow Creek Kennels Inc. in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania at a cost of $14,300. City Council will consider the matter at its meeting Jan. 21.

Canine officer Stryker retired last month after nearly nine years with the department.

Police Chief Richard A. Tonelli explained that he conducted a comprehensive search of organizations that would best serve Solon’s need for a new K-9 officer considering top training and cost to the city.

Plans are to start the process of obtaining the dog by early February. Training with a new handler should be complete by mid-April with the dog being on duty at that time.

Chief Tonelli will select a new handler for the dog based on interest from within the department.

He said former handler Matt Troyer did an excellent job but he wanted to give another officer a chance.

Plans are to purchase a European bred dual-purpose dog trained for narcotic detection, patrol work, tracking suspects and other areas of law enforcement.

Chief Tonelli said a canine officer has become one of the faces of the Solon Police Department and is beneficial in the area of public relations.

Both the officers and the public love having the dog on the department, Chief Tonelli added.

Chief Tonelli said he may ask students in the Solon City School District to help select a name for the K-9 officer.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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