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Police: It's time for a new K-9 vehicle

March 28, 2011

COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Police Department is hoping to get a new K-9 vehicle.
Officer Tim Pittenger and Chief Mike Petersen addressed the Columbia City Board of Works and Safety Friday afternoon about the need to replace the current Ford Expedition with a new model.
Pittenger presented the board with a list of pros and cons between replacing the existing vehicle with another sport utility vehicle and changing gears to a Dodge Charger.
“All the equipment that I have in my 2005 Expedition would be able to be put right into a 2011 Expedition,” Pittenger said.
“With a car, we’d have to re-equip the whole thing.”
In the SUV option, Pittenger said a containment cage that would hold Stryker, Columbia City’s four-legged K-9 officer, would take up two-thirds of the vehicle’s rear compartment. This would leave a third of the back seat area to haul a suspect.
“Otherwise, I have to put the suspect in the front seat with me (in a car),” he said.
In the car option, the entire backseat area would be reserved for the dog.
Pittenger said the initial cost of both vehicles would have the SUV outpacing the car in price, but added that once the vehicles were outfitted, the SUV would be about $2,000 cheaper.
One of the current features installed in the SUV is a “door popper,” which Pittenger explained is a safety feature that protects the human officer in the event of an altercation.
In a struggle, the police officer can hit a button on his belt, which opens the back door of the police vehicle and literally releases the hound.
The board gave Petersen and Pittenger permission to seek bids for a new vehicle and told the officers they could seek bids for an SUV.
The Columbia City Board of Works and Safety meets each Friday morning at 8 a.m. in City Hall.

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