The Poteau Police Dept. will soon welcome a new officer, but he won’t carry a gun or handcuffs. He won’t even be allowed to drive the squad car. That’s because the new addition is a dog, part of a K9 unit that's being put together.
“I’ve been in law enforcement K9 handling for about 12 years now,” patrolman Jerimy Emmert said. “I came to Poteau in 2012, and since then, we've been working on trying to get the K9 program started.”
Finally, his efforts are paying off.
“The chief surprised me with the news about a month ago that we were going to purchase a K9,” Emmert said.
“He is a Belgian Malinois. They favor a German shepherd; little bit smaller frame,” Chief Stephen Fruen said. “He's a dual purpose K9. So he will be a patrol dog, and his other specialty is narcotics.”
His name is “Sumo” and, because of his skill set, he doesn’t come cheap.
“The training of the dog, and the insert for the vehicle is right at $20,000,” Fruen said.
It’s a hefty investment for the Poteau Police Dept., but the guys agree, Sumo is worth every dollar.
“It’s a great tool and, if applied properly, it can reduce injury to officers. It can reduce the man hours, so other officers can spend more time on the street, answering calls and patrolling neighborhoods,” Emmert said.
Emmert will attend three weeks of training, starting March 30th. Once the training wraps up, Emmert and Sumo will hit the streets of Poteau.