FARMINGTON – Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to authorize the Sheriff’s Office to buy a dog to replace K-9 Abbie.

Abbie retired in 2015 when former Cpl. Christopher Chase left county employment.

The cost for the new dog is $7,000. The money will come out of the sheriff’s public safety line, Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said.

Police dogs have saved lives, he said. The dogs are especially helpful to find missing children and people who have Alzheimer’s. The dogs have also assisted in searches of vehicles and residences for suspected illegal drugs and brought in forfeited drug money to the county.

The Sheriff’s Office has had a successful K-9 program since 2001, Sgt. Nate Bean said.  

Bean who was the Sheriff’s Office first K-9 handler, has been training his K-9, Bain, a Dutch shepherd, since 2015. They were certified with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in March for narcotic work and certified in 2016 for tracking and scent work.

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Franklin County also helps train K-9s for other law enforcement agencies. 

A new handler will be selected from the deputies at the Sheriff’s Office to be trained with the new K-9, Bean said. The dog is a 13-month-old German shepherd.

“With recent law changes regarding the legalization of marijuana, Lt. (David) Rackliffe’s K-9 Justice will no longer be used to develop probable cause on narcotic searches,” he said.

Justice was trained to detect marijuana, Nichols said. 

The Sheriff’s Office has two police dogs.

With the growing drug epidemic it is time to purchase and train a new K-9 to fill the vacant slot left when Abbie was retired, Bean said. 

The new dog will be purchased from the same vendor Bain was purchased from in 2015, Robbie Farms of Florida.

The dog has a 100 percent guarantee of workability, Bean said. If the dog fails to certify, the vendor will provide another K-9 to the Sheriff’s Office.

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Franklin County sheriff’s Sgt. Nate Bean explained to to county commissioners Tuesday the for a K-9 to replace Abbie, who retired in 2015 when handler Cpl. Christopher Chase left county employment.


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