HARRISON, N.Y. – The Harrison Town Board voted unanimously to buy a new canine for the police department at its board meeting Thursday night.
The purchase for $22,350, made with canine donation and forfeiture funds, will also send Officer Erin Hinchey to Blacklick, Ohio, to attend Gold Shield Canine Training for six weeks in October and November. The purchase was necessary because the department will be left with just one canine when one officer retires at the end of the year, Police Chief Anthony Marraccini said.
“Unfortunately, Westchester County has one patrol dog for the entire county,” Marraccini said. “The dog is not always available. White Plains added police dogs last year because they saw the benefit of them after a string of burglaries.”
Resident Jimmy Pritchard, who had previously served on the Harrison Town Board, would rather see the money used for civilian dispatchers, which the chief said has three vacant positions. But the money is earmarked for the dogs and cannot be removed from other police funds, Marraccini said.
“This would save us money,” Pritchard said. “Since we are down positions we should inflate the number of police officers on the beat.”
The town has loaned its police dogs to Westchester County on 15 occasions since January, Marraccini said. Resident Emil Toso asked whether the county and other municipalities could be charged when they use Harrison’s dogs. But the police departments have a mutual aid agreement to help each other, Marraccini said.
“Harrison is much more than its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Ron Belmont. “There are three major highways, a Metro-North train station and Fortune 500 companies. We owe it to everyone to have the best police department we can have. If a Fortune 500 company needs a police dog, it is comforting to know that the dog will be there in several minutes.”