Kittanning Borough, PA Council Nixes Police Dog, Returns Donated Money

From The Pittsburgh tribune-Review by Brigid Beatty, January 7, 2013

Kittanning Borough Council took on some tough issues with possible repercussions for the police department.

In an unexpected move, council withdrew its support for the proposed police dog fund and voted to return the money raised to donors.

The vote was 4-4, with Mayor Atwood again breaking the tie.

Reedy raised concerns about the costs associated with adding a drug dog to the police department, including potential police overtime.

“I think it’s time borough council divorces itself from this,” Reedy said.

Police Chief Bruce Mathews said he agreed that more discussion was needed. He suggested council seek public comment and to present the public with a K-9 demonstration and cost breakdown.

Mathews said the police department had to request a police dog from elsewhere twice last year.

“But the times we needed one on the spot were immeasurable,” he said.

Fox, who had spearheaded the police dog fundraising, said the costs would be much lower than the initial projection of $54,000.

That initial projection included training and veterinary costs and a new police car.

The actual initial cost, Fox said, without adding a car, would be closer to $17,000. It would cost about $3,500 a year after that, he said.

Fox noted that donated funds amounted to $16,660, including a $10,000 Ben Roethlisberger grant.

But Croyle said it was a legal and ethical matter for him.

“If something happens to that funding, we (the borough) would have to pick it up,” he said.

Resident Diane Acerni told council that she thought the issue needs more public discussion.

“The things I heard are disturbing,” she said. She was concerned that council had not listed the issue on the meeting agenda.

The vote to drop the police dog project was 4-4. Cloak, Peters, Reedy and Croyle voted to drop the project and return all fundraising and grant money back to donors.

Wilt, Fox, Pryde and Turco voted to go forward with the project.

Atwood broke the tie in favor of dropping the project.

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