MATTHEWS – A new employee met with the Matthews Board of Commissioners on March 25 but the newest member of the police department didn’t seem to pay too much attention to town leaders.
Mayor Paul Bailey even took notice of the lack of attention given to the board.
“He is having a great time with his tennis ball,” Bailey said.
But you can’t blame Benny because after all, he is a 15-month-old Labrador Retriever. He recently joined the police department’s K-9 unit with handler officer Kevin Osuch.
“He still has a lot of puppy in him as you can tell,’’ Police Chief Clark Pennington said. “Benny is a single-purpose K-9, which means he is trained in narcotics protection. He is not patrol apprehension as some of our other dogs have been in the past.”
Since starting March 21, Benny has already made an impact, Pennington added.
“He started (March 21) and he already has two arrests under his belt. So, he is off and running, which is good for the town,” he said.
Osuch is a 19-year veteran with the department and has been a K-9 handler for 15 years.
“Benny will be the fifth K-9 that he has worked with,” Pennington said. “That is a very long and illustrious career so far, and we appreciate it. Officer Osuch is a master trainer.”
Benny replaces 10-year-old Castor, who was also handled by Osuch for the past seven years. And Benny and Castor will be buddies as the town agreed to sell Castor to Osuch for $1 so the Belgian Malinois can remain with his handler in retirement. Osuch has agreed to accept responsibility and liability for Castor’s care.
It has been common practice by the town in the past to retire K-9 dogs to their handlers.