Cottonwood Shores drug dog policy on hold after mayor, council dispute

The Cottonwood Shores Police Department is set to launch a canine unit — the catalyst for the resignations of two council member — sometime in 2018. Staff Photo by Connie Swinney 

The Cottonwood Shores Police Department is set to launch a canine unit — the catalyst for the resignations of two council member — sometime in 2018. Staff Photo by Connie Swinney 

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY 

COTTONWOOD SHORES — A drug interdiction program using drug-sniffing dogs will remain on hold for several months until the controversy quells over a dispute about the program, which pitted two former Cottonwood Shores City Council members against the mayor.

“It’s pending implementation,” Mayor Donald Orr said. “The reason we don’t want to implement it right now is because it’s like putting salt in the wound.

“We’ll ease back into this later,” he added.

The dispute started after Cottonwood Shores Police Chief Johnny Liendo drafted a standard operating procedure (SOP) for a canine unit and presented it to the mayor, who then brought it to the council in October to inform them of the pending program.

Two councilmen, Stephen Sherry and Anthony Satsky, resigned over their contention that the council should ultimately review and vote on whether to approve such a program.

Orr maintained that Cottonwood Shores, governed as a General Rule city, has relied primarily on the mayor, city administrator, and department heads to draft and/or review such department procedures.

The police chief, a certified canine handler, also owns two drug-sniffing dogs and offered their use for the proposed drug interdiction program.

By using the chief’s existing resource, the city could save $50,000-$60,000 in one year toward the purchase of a dog, its care, and the cost of a certified drug dog trainer/handler.

Orr and supportive council members viewed the plan as beneficial to the budget as well as a potential effective crime-fighting program for the city.

“All the tools that you can have to prevent that type of situation, you’re a lot better off when you can take advantage of it,” Orr said.

He added he believes such a program could dissuade drug dealers — avoiding other agencies with similar programs — from moving into Cottonwood Shores.

“All communities deal with it,” Orr said. “It’s (a canine program) a deterrent.”

The canine unit is expected to be implemented sometime after the first of 2018.

connie@thepicayune.com

3 thoughts on “Cottonwood Shores drug dog policy on hold after mayor, council dispute

  1. We don’t need a dog and the liability associated with the dog, plus costs. What we need is an effective police department with good officers that will stay for a year or so – too much turn over – why? Ask the City Council of Bozoville!

  2. As a citizen that was at the city council meetings that had discussions on the drug dog I absolutely believe the dog would be a GREAT tool for the police. The cost the of liability insurance was less than 150.00 per year certifcation of the dog and handler plus food,board and upkeep would be paid for by the chief of police at NO cost to the city. How can this not be good for our small city!!! As a citizen of Cottonwood Shores I take offence to the Bozoville remark!!! If you do not like what is going on in the city come to Council meeting or Volunteer for boards or commissions and help the city grow!!! My phone #940-642-7631 if anyone has questions about how I fell about our city

    b

    1. Mr. Bristow,
      Been there, done that – gave up – won’t do it again.
      Check my history of trying to help this town for the past 20 years.
      Only $150 huh – well $150 here, $150 there – it all adds up and we the citizens have to pay. Spend the money on the officer salaries of the PD – let’s do what we can to keep at least one for more than a year. You ought to check that “longevity” history as well.
      Frank

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