Village of Plain City’s new K9 unit now on patrol

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Plain City police officer Joshua Hirtzinger and his K9 partner, Andor, are cruising in safety and style, thanks to the donation of a new vehicle. On April 13, the team took part in a donation ceremony at Coughlin Automotive. On hand were: (from left) Madison County Prosecutor Stephen Pronai, Assistant Prosecutor Nick Adkins, Police Chief Dale McKee, Hirtzinger, Andor, and Nick Coughlin.

(Posted April 18, 2018)

By Dedra Cordle, Staff Writer

Near the end of 2011, a budget crunch impacted several Plain City government departments. The police division’s thriving K9 unit was among the services lost to cutbacks.

Half a decade later, officer Joshua Hirtzinger asked police chief Dale McKee about reinstating the K9 unit. After much consideration, McKee gave the request a green light but knew the unit’s sustainability would depend on alternative funding.

“The goal had to be that we do this without using tax dollars,” McKee said.

For months, the department sought public and private donations throughout the greater Madison County and Union County communities. Before they knew it, they had raised more than $86,000, enough to reintroduce the K9 unit to Plain City earlier this month.

A portion of the funding came from the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutor Stephen Pronai said the office collects nearly $1 million annually in confiscated drug money. Much of that is given to the police departments throughout the county.

Pronai said he knows how beneficial having a K9 unit is to a police department and to a community and was happy to know that something good came out of something bad.

The department recently took possession of a 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe from Coughlin Automotive in London. The Coughlin family covered much of the cost of the vehicle; donations covered the rest. Nick Coughlin, a sales manager, said the donation was a way to give back to the community.

“This community is very important to us,” he said.

On April 13, a donation ceremony took place during which Hirtzinger received the keys to the Tahoe. At his side was his partner Andor, a nearly 2-year-old German shepherd known for his sweet and playful demeanor when he’s not apprehending criminals.

Modifications to the Tahoe were made with Andor’s safety and comfort in mind.

“He’s very spoiled,” joked McKee.

The modifications, explained Hirtzinger, include a warning system that lets him know if the car has shut off and if Andor is in danger of overheating. With the warning system comes a mechanism that can expel excessively hot air from the vehicle.

Hirtzinger said his belt is equipped with a button that can open the car doors to unleash Andor if he is in a dangerous situation.

Hirtzinger and Andor have been on the road since the beginning of April. Already, the K9 unit is making a positive impact on the community. Hirtzinger said Andor recently sniffed out methamphetamine in a vehicle.

Andor’s job isn’t limited to tracking criminals and illegal substances. He also can track missing people.

“He was the best tracker in his [training] class,” said a proud Hirtzinger.

McKee said he cannot thank the community and local businesses enough for helping to bring the K9 unit back to Plain City.

Previous articleDevelopmental Disabilities asks for levy renewal
Next articleRoyal reflection


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.