By Tim Grimes
Anderson Police Officer Marty Dulworth testified before the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee on Tuesday about a bil that would make criminals reimburse police departments if they kill or permanently disable their police dog. His dog, Kilo, was killed in July. Photo by Tim Grimes, TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – Members of a Senate committee said Tuesday that they hope to clarify provisions of a bill that would seek restitution for police dogs killed in the line of duty.
House Bill 1093 would force criminals who kill or permanently disable a police dog to pay the police department for the loss of the dog.
Lawmakers held the legislation because they said wanted to clarify provisions about replacement costs. Currently, the bill says that the judge must charge for replacement costs, but it’s unclear if that would include the costs of training too.
The cost to replace a police dog is steep. Buying a dog with minimal training could cost $8,000, with the price rising to $10,000 for a dog with additional skills, such as obedience training or drug sniffing. There’s also an additional $3,000-$5,000 to get the dog certified, with re-certification taking place each year.
“It’s a very significant expense, especially now,” said Rep. Shelli Vandenburgh, D-Crown Point, the bill’s author.
Three Anderson police officers testified in favor of the bill Tuesday. The city’s police department lost two dogs in about a month, one in July and one in August.
Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden, listens while Anderson police officers testify about a bil that would make criminals reimburse police departments if they kill or permanently disable their police dog. Photo by Tim Grimes, TheStatehouseFile.com
K-9 Officer Matt Jaret said that in August of last year, he and his dog were chasing a bank robber through a field. When the dog grabbed the suspect, the robber shot the dog in the forehead. The dog, Magnum, lived two days after he was shot, but was then put down.
“The emotional toll was very rough and without donations from the community, we would not have been able to replace the dog,” Jaret said.
Committee Chairman Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, said lawmakers plan to write an amendment that clarified the replacement cost issues and they plan to hear the bill again next week.
Tim Grimes is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.