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Tredyffrin starts K-9 unit

Faith Zantua / The SPOKE

By Faith Zantua, Co-Copy Editor

On Feb. 20, the Tredyffrin Township board of supervisors approved a memorandum of understanding with the Chester County Emergency Response Commission to implement a new Emergency Response Team K-9 program.

The program involves Tredyffrin Township Police Department Corporal Eric Meoli working with a Dutch Shepherd dog. Township police captain Tyler Moyer said that the dog is currently operational and acts only for “tactical purposes,” such as searching buildings, pursuing suspects and detecting narcotics.

“There’s a lot of different components to it that give them an advantage,” Moyer said. “If somebody would run from them or it’s a situation where they need to search a building quickly, the dog’s going to give them a little bit more advantage to being able to search that building a little more efficiently.”

Around a year ago, the commission proposed the idea of the K-9 program to improve the township’s emergency response force. Since then, Meoli and the dog have completed the necessary training to become certified as a K-9 team. Township assistant manager and financial director Joseph DiRocco said at the Feb. 20 meeting that the commission is handling most of the financial responsibilities.

The initiative resembles nearby K-9 programs established by security organizations in recent years, such as security contractor Allied Universal’s K-9 unit stationed in King of Prussia Mall.

Mike Handshoe, one of the unit’s officers, works with a dog to patrol and detect around the mall. He views K-9 programs as a regrettable necessity.

“I think (needing dogs) is just an unfortunate way that our world is going these days,” Handshoe said. “It’s just another level of different avenues you can take.”

Unlike the dogs in Allied Universal’s unit, the Tredyffrin Township dog is not working as a patrol animal, which Moyer attributes to a lack of officers. Moyer said that there are no plans to expand the program.

“Right now we don’t have the staffing to dedicate someone to just K-9, and there’s also a lot of other factors that go into operating a K-9 unit on patrol,” Moyer said. “It (the current plan) was proposed to us, and we felt it was the best option at the time.”

Faith Zantua can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Faith Zantua
Faith Zantua, Co-News Editor
Faith Zantua is a sophomore and the Co-Copy Editor of The Spoke. As Co-Copy Editor, she edits print and web articles, ensuring that they follow the Associated Press' guidelines. She covers local events in the community, with an emphasis on education and policy-related topics. Outside of the newsroom, she researches other topics as part of Conestoga's National History Day Club and serves as a committee chair of the Mini-THON Planning Committee 2024.