WINTHROP – Right now 14-month old Drake is an easy-going cop. He enjoys playing with his rope bone in the chiefs office, shredding anything he can find, driving around Winthrop with his partner and meeting his fellow officers.
He doesn’t drink coffee or eat donuts. But make no mistake, when he comes back after a few months of training he’s going to be all business.
Thanks to a $25,000 grant applied for by Sgt. Steve Rogers, Drake and his partner Chris Brown, a 20-year veteran of the department, are now able to embark on a collaboration that hasn’t happened in over 25 years in Winthrop.
Years ago Sgt. Frank MacDonald was the K9 officer.
Police Chief Terence Delehanty said Drake came to the department via Northeast K9 Unlimited which found Drake in South Carolina. He will undergo bite training, obedience training and narcotics training.
“Chris and Drake will work closely with me and two detectives,” Delehanty said. “He will be used for parties and summer beach patrol. He gets people moving.”
But Drake will also have a family life. Brown, who lives in Lynn with his wife and three children, has an outdoor kennel and a crate for indoors. “The dog will always be with him,” Delehanty added. “We’re excited to have Drake’s help and he’ll help us reduce the use of force.”
“ I always had Shepherds growing up,” Brown said, adding that his wife and kids wanted a dog. He and Drake will ride together in the chief’s former 2008 Chevy Tahoe. It will be retrofitted with a cage and a cooling system. The chief will pick up a new ride from the Chelsea police chief.
Delehanty said the grant paid for the dog, kennel, cruiser retrofit and veterinarian bills. There is also additional funding to certify Brown and purchase specialized K9 equipment.
“It should be three to four years before we have to budget for Drake,” Delehanty said.
In the past the Winthrop police have had to call for a K9 from another department if they wanted to search a car for drugs. Sometimes they would wait up to 45 minutes and other times they would have to forgo a search.
“This is a turning point to have ou
r own assets. We are also looking into regional assets with the North Metro SWAT team,” Delehanty said.
In addition to the K9 grant, another $29,970 state grant from the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance program was awarded after receiving a grant application from Winthrop’s grant writer Joe Domelowicz.
As a result, four of the town’s police cruisers will be fitted with cameras. Delehanty said this is the perfect time to get the cameras. It will help protect the officer and reduce citizen complaints. He said he will work with the union to work out details. Once the blue lights are activated the camera will start recording. Delehanty said it is a system called, “Watch Guard,” and it user a thumb drive and dedicated server. Afterwards officers will be able to attach the video to their report.