“It’s very important for me, as chief, that this dog makes community service calls as well, like in school and with the elderly,” Fowler said. “It’s not going to be a vicious dog.”
Fowler announced the news of the addition to the department at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting, and although most selectmen appeared pleased to hear of Herc’s pending arrival, Selectman Ed Hunt was not.
“I’m not a great fan of Salisbury having a K-9,” Hunt said, suggesting Fowler could utilize existing K-9 units at the Essex County Sheriff’s Office or State Police.
Hunt asked how much Herc would add to the budget after the $25,000 grant was utilized. Fowler didn’t have those numbers available at the meeting, but said he would soon.
In years past, Salisbury had a K-9 police team, but the unit was disbanded when the dog retired.
At the meeting, Fowler presented statistics on the increase in department activity this year. Fowler said the total number of incidents police responded to this year were up 18 percent, from 781 in 2012 to 921 in 2013.
That breaks down to a 22 percent increase in arrests, from 320 last year up to 391 this year, and a 31 percent increase in the number of summonses issued, from 344 to 450. Accidents were up 7 percent, and there was a nearly 24 percent rise in medical calls, from 547 up to 676. All of which take officers’ time, Fowler said, when there’s usually only two to three officers on duty each shift.
Residents will soon see the two new police Ford Explorer cruisers approved at Fall Town Meeting. They’re expected to be on the road after the first of the new year, Fowler said.