SALISBURY — With a significant increase in activity in over the past 12 months, the Salisbury Police Department is bringing on a new officer: the four-legged kind, and his name is Herc.
According to Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler, the department received a $25,000 grant from a private state organization to acquire the dog, as well as its training and that of its handler, officer Richard Dellaria. Intended to be a patrol dog, if he performs those duties well during his first year, Herc may be cross-trained as a drug dog, Fowler said.
Dellaria is currently coming to the end of 14-weeks of training at the Boston Police K-9 Academy, Fowler said, with a graduation date of Jan. 3. The hope is Salisbury’s first K-9 unit in years will be on patrol soon.
Dellaria will care for the dog 24/7, Fowler said, both when he’s on duty and off. Officer and dog will work the 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift, Fowler said, because after analysis that’s when the department believes Herc will be utilized the most. They’ll work a four-day work week on duty, Fowler said, and be on-call when off-duty.
Currently, among the region’s police departments, only Amesbury has a K-9 team working, which includes officer Thomas Nichols, and his dog Kaybar. Seabrook had a K-9 team, but recently that team was disbanded.
Although both the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and the State Police have K-9 police units, Fowler said, through mutual aid, it has been Nichols and Kaybar who have come to Salisbury’s aid when the skills of a well trained K-9 officer was needed. Fowler hopes to pay that service forward by helping other departments when asked by sending Dellaria and Herc through mutual aid.
But Herc is also intended to be an ambassador of sorts for the Salisbury Police Department and will do his share of good works.