Manor Township supervisors inked an agreement last night that will enable the county drug canine to patrol with a township police officer.
Officer Mark Brice works for the Armstrong County Sheriff’s Department as the handler for Blak, the county drug dog. Brice also works part-time for the Manor Township Police Department.
Under the new agreement, Brice will be able to bring Blak to work with him in Manor Township.
According to Secretary Jill Davis, the agreement calls for Manor Township to provide insurance on the dog as well as the county vehicle while Brice uses it to transport the dog while on duty in the township. The insurance policy will cost the township an additional $1,172 annually.
Sheriff Bill Rupert added, “Manor Township is going to also kick in a dollar an hour, that will go on maintenance of the vehicle. Gas when he is (on duty in the township) will be paid for by the township.”
Rupert said the dog logging patrol time in a good thing.
“It puts the canine out there on the street more than what he is now,” Rupert said. “When Mark (Brice) is working, (Blak) needs to go with him (to develop) that bond that they have. Instead of leaving (the dog) at home when he comes to work here, he can bring (the dog) with him and they can always be paired up. It’s better for the dog, and it’s better for the community and county because the dog is out more.”
Armstrong County Commissioner Pat Fabian said that this agreement is unique with Manor Township because it just happens that Brice works for both the municipality and the county.
“It’s important to note that the dog is able to be used here in Manor because Mark (Brice) is a police officer here in Manor. He doesn’t work for another municipality. So after he is done being a Sheriff deputy, (he comes to work) however his shifts occur here at Manor,” Fabian said.
Rupert emphasized that Brice is on call 24/7 and that any other municipality can request the services of the dog from the county.
“If he is here, and Freeport needs him, he leaves and goes there.” Rupert added.
Fabian, who is also a Manor Township resident and former supervisor in Manor Township before being elected county commissioner, agreed with Rupert that this agreement will be good for all parties.
Fabian added that the County has been working to get the agreement in place for the past several months. Now that the agreement has been approved by Manor supervisors, the commissioners will give it formal county approval at their next public meeting on November 15.