Letter to the editor: Taxpayers served well through Battle Ground’s K-9 program


Thank you, The Reflector, for doing your job well to make us aware of what’s happening in our city council and police department via your article in our March 15 paper.

I’m writing in response to your article reporting on the decision to suspend Battle Ground’s K-9 program. I’m also writing the police chief and city council directly, but would appreciate you giving the general populace a chance to hear follow-up ideas and questions, since their decision affects all of us.

Our tax money was used to put this K-9 program in place and it has served us and the county well to help the very de-escalation the police chief says we need, according to the new laws of the state of Washington.

As per your reporting in the March 15 edition, the sheriff’s office also corroborates the superior service from K-9 partner help: “They are a tremendous tool for us to maximize the needed time and distance for de-escalation.” Plus, with the huge influx of fentanyl and school shootings where a dog and handler can find and protect both officers, and victims, much more efficiently, it stands to reason we will need a K-9 unit more not less.

If it’s only a financial decision, it is unclear how this decision helps since Officer Clint always did and does patrol duties, so “reassigning him to patrol duties within the depart” means what?

Finally, as someone involved with animal training, I would ask to consider allowing Officers Clint and Charlie to move over to the sheriff’s office in order to continue working together. You don’t just cut off a relationship like the partnership developed by such training.

If you want the money for hiring more new officers, then at least please have the wisdom not to break those training bonds between canine and officer. Besides, that would be a serious waste of resources to just cut off the K-9 part.

Thank you for your consideration of these views and we await a response from our city leaders.

Merrilee Howell,

Battle Ground