NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach Public Safety has welcomed a new asset to the team to help in the fight against drugs, and locate missing people and items.
Diesel, the 2-year-old German shepherd, is the newest K9 cop for the narcotics team.
Public Safety Chief Phil Webster wasn't looking for a new narcotics dog, but stumbled upon the offer for the animal by accident.
The chief said he was in Starbucks when a woman approached him and offered to donate her high-energy German shepherd to the department. Diesel is from European-working bloodlines, and was meant to be more than a family pet.
"We got back and we started talking to our handlers," Webster said. "Really, when you look at the cost of purchasing a new dog plus the ages of our current narcotics dogs, it looked like a no-brainer to introduce a new dog."
Diesel is the fourth dog to join North Myrtle Beach's police canine force. He joins two other narcotics dogs and one bomb dog.
However, because of Diesel's advanced narcotics training, he will be sniffing out drugs, helping serve home warrants, and searching for missing people and items, according to Webster.
Diesel began his training in October and just began working the streets recently. He will officially be certified in March.
Webster said the department is lucky to have had a dog donated. Counting up the many hours of training and the cost that it would have been to buy the animal, the donation of Diesel saved the department about $10,000 that can now be spent on other needed equipment.
North Myrtle Beach had 23 narcotics cases at this time last year, leading to 14 arrests, according to Webster. For the same period this year, he said there has been 20 narcotics cases and 13 arrests. The chief expects the department's newest K9 officer will lead to more drugs busts and arrests.
"Our hope is to be able to interdict narcotics, keep people from using them, keep people from injuring themselves and killing themselves for that matter," Webster said. "If we could just save one life from a good search by Diesel, then the program has already paid for itself."
Diesel's handler and caretaker is Lt. Andrew McCarter, the officer recognized and awarded for his efforts in catching armed bank robbery suspects in May 2016.