Columbiana begins K-9 campaign

COLUMBIANA — The son of the area’s first K-9 handler is confident he can get a K-9 program started in the city.

Police Chief Tim Gladis told council this past week that officer Bryan Granchie is gathering donation pledges to cover the cost of acquiring a K-9.

Granchie’s father, Thomas Granchie, who spent 30 years with the Struthers Police Department, was one of the first handlers in the area back in 1988, Gladis said.

He added it will cost around $55,000 to get the program started, with the cost of acquiring the K-9 and its necessary training amounting to about $14,000. The remainder of the cost would be for outfitting a police cruiser and veterinary care.

He said the department already has a commitment from the Blackwood Pet Food company to donate food for the K-9 for the next few years.

The Blackwood company announced in September of 2016 it wanted to help defray the cost of keeping K-9 units for departments nationwide by providing a 30-pound bag of food each month to agencies participating in its K-9 Feeding Program.

The county sheriff’s office was among the first to participate in the program when it was launched that year, according to the company’s website,

The food brand is available in some local businesses.

Gladis said the department is looking into acquiring a German shepherd, Belgian malinois or a Dutch shepherd and is discussing options with a few different kennels.

The K-9 would be used for search and apprehension and drug tracking.

“I really believe he is going to meet the goal of getting this thing funded and get it off the ground,” Gladis said of Granchie’s donation efforts. “This would not come out of taxpayer dollars but would be funded by this community for this community.”

He said the department anticipates having the K-9 in operation by June of this year if the donations come in. It would be handled by Granchie.

The department has already updated its policies to include a K-9, he added.

He went on to say that a K-9 unit will help the department with its new intelligence-led policing program that is focusing on trafficking of all sorts.

The department began its own Hometown Enforcement Against Trafficking (HEAT) program last year.

“We want you to know that if you come here there is a high likelihood that you are going to get caught,” he said.

He added that the program includes looking at treatment and education options for addicts and others committing drug or trafficking crimes since prison time doesn’t always correct the problem.

Anyone wishing to donate to the K-9 program should make checks payable to the Columbiana Police Department, with K-9 program listed on the memo.

Donations can be mailed to 28 S. Vine St., Columbiana, Ohio 44408.

Gladis said all donations will go into a line item account in the city’s coffers that will be earmarked for the K-9 program and used for that purpose only.