JPD getting 7 new SUVs to help take a bite out of crime

Officer Erik Johnson leads Gabo into their current K9 cruiser
Officer Erik Johnson leads Gabo into their current K9 cruiser

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department has some new tools in their arsenal to help take a bite out of crime.

Officers say their current K9 units are crowded.

"K9 officers have a lot of equipment to carry in addition to what they normally carry. A couple of the k9 guys are involved in the SWAT team so they have even more equipment to carry," JPD Lieutenant Rick Elliott told Region 8 News.

"Getting in and out of the vehicles is hard since they sit so low to the ground," Ptl. Erik Johnson said.

All that is changing though, thanks to someone pretty high up in the city.

"Mayor Perrin had a lot to do with this," Lt. Elliott said. "A lot of Friday evenings he'll come out and ride patrol."

In talking with K9 officers like Erik Johnson, he noticed how much stuff they had to carry and how little room they and the dogs had to work with.

"In the Crown Vics, it's kinda cramped. With the larger dogs, it's hard for them to turn around," Johnson said.

It wasn't long after that plans started coming together in how to fix the problem.

"They thought they'd have a little extra money in the budget and his goal was to buy seven Tahoes for all the K9 handlers and their dogs," Lt. Elliott explained.

The purchase was approved by city council and two of the seven SUVs are already on the street.

"It's a great asset," Johnson said. "Especially with the wintertime coming up, these are 4-wheel drive vehicles."

Though Officer Johnson and his K9 Gabo haven't hit the streets in their new unit yet, they're counting down the days.

"I'm excited. I brought mine back from Little Rock and just loved the way it rolled, it felt. There's so much more room. It's gonna be great."

The Tahoes also give the K9 units the opportunity to transport a person if need be, something they weren't able to do in the Crown Victoria's.

This means, if they make an arrest, they won't have to wait on or tie up another patrolman to pick up that person.

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