SAMPSON COUNTY — Thanks to several agencies, some small police departments and sheriff's offices in North Carolina are adding K-9 cops to their force.
Sampson County Sheriff's Deputy Stokes McKoy has a new partner. As the only dog for Sampson County, Rex will have a busy schedule. In fact, he would have come in handy a few weeks ago.
Instead of waiting for a tracking dog from another county, Rex could have gone to work immediately in the search for missing4-year-old Buddy Myers.
"The trail could have been fresher," McKoy says. "The trail would not have been as contaminated, and scent discrimination would have been more fresh."
The police dogs can be a huge asset to small departments like Sampson County, but with budget constraints, they are an added employee that few agencies could afford until now.
Cumberland County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Loughman held a 10-week school to help deputies and dogs from small cities and counties get properly trained. The dogs from the program graduated with a national certification -- a $3,000 value they received for free.
"Whether you are a 500-man, 200-man or 50-man department, you need to have this tool." he says.
"Their assistance in training our dogs and providing lodging for our handlers is just invaluable," says Henderson police chief Glen Allen.
Police dogs can cost up to $4,000. Loughman is one of just three certified police dog trainers in North Carolina. Cumberland County is the only sheriff's office in the state that offers the training to other departments at no cost.