Picayune PD on the AKC K-9 Cop grant

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Picayune Police Department will be adding a furry friend to the team.

Come this September Trea, a 2-year-old female Belgian Shepherd will be a part of the new K-9 unit. Her handler will be a 2 1/2-year officer, Shane Cunningham. Cunningham has not worked with dogs professionally before, but he has his dogs. Police Chief Joe Quave said Cunningham showed great interest in it, which has helped get the ball rolling on the program. This will be the department’s 5th K-9 dog since 2001.

Trea is a trained dual-purpose dog, served for narcotics and apprehension work. Statically a k-9’s nose is 10 thousand times better than a human’s. Researchers at the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University estimate that a dog’s nose is somewhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than a human nose. It’s been a 4-month process in the department’s effort for securing a K-9. They were approved to apply for this grant by City Council on February 7, 2023. They received a $7,500 max grant from the AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop grant that got this program going. Out of the city’s budget, they will pay $1,400 for Trea. The Department also has a brand new dog kennel ready for Trea that was bought for $1,900 and Officer Cunningham’s training in Tarboro NC at Edgecombe CC is free. Cunningham’s will link with Trea in train for 8 weeks. The class is run by Michael Trevathan, Tarboro Police Department, Seth Everette, Cary Police Department, and Dave Green, Raleigh Police Department.

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Thanks to pre-planning and relationships with affiliated organizations, the city was able to get a good deal. In total for this entire program, the city was looking at $19,000 but is only paying $7,500. and lodging for Officer Cunningham.

Once the 8 weeks of training are over Cunningham and Trea will come back to Picayune and get straight to work. Quave plans to introduce Trea to the Council upon her arrival. Managing Trea will be no hindrance to the department’s budget. Quave will soon propose an added $3,200 budget for the care of Trea.

Why is the Department getting a K-9? Quave said,  “It’s just like anything else we’ve got, it’s a tool. It may not be needed every day but it’s like insurance whenever you needed your glade you have it.”