By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Tuesday evening, following a presentation from Liberal Police Capt. Dan Odle, the city commission approved the addition of one more member to the LPD. The year-and-a-half-old Belgian Malinois, Rex, will begin training in Topeka very soon. Rex’s primary handler, Corporal Bryan Flohr, believes Liberal will definitely benefit from the new extension of the LPD.
“Training will be 10 weeks at the Kansas Highway Patrol, and it will be basic obedience, tracking skills, and he will also bite on command – basically take care of me if something happens to me,” Flohr said. “It cost $9,000 for the dog, and training is included in that. Every Tuesday, I will train with other agencies who also have dogs, Garden City, Dodge City. One week we will go to Garden, the next week maybe Dodge then we can have everyone come down here. It is kind of neat we can have knowledgeable dogs that we can train with. The training has to be constant, or they can lose their knowledge. It will be very important.”
Not only did the city commission approve the purchase of Rex, a purchase of a new police car equipped to transport him on a regular basis was approved. The total cost for the first year, including Rex, training and equipped vehicle was approved at $54,969.
Rex, Cpl. Flohr said, is not only new to Liberal, but new to the United States as well.
“He has been in the states for about a week,” Flohr said of Rex. “He came from the Netherlands. He will be given commands in a foreign language. He is a Belgian Malinois. He is about a year and a half old. He was born Oct. 10, 2008.”
Recently, the LPD has had to depend on agencies in surrounding areas when a drug dog has been needed. Beaver County, Okla., has supplied their K-9 unit in an effort to assist the LPD several times. However, the cost of the use of the Beaver County dog has always depended on the seizure of funds.
“Basically, if there was a big seizure or something like that, we would give them a portion of that,” Captain Patrick McClurg said. “They have assisted us, but we really haven’t had the monetary seizures so we could pay them money. They have basically assisted us, now we can do the same thing.”
McClurg is excited the LPD has been able to reinstate the K-9 program, something the department has not had since 2007.
“It has been something we have needed for awhile – since Bandy retired in 2007,” McClurg said.