NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach Public Safety has welcomed a new asset to the team to help the fight against drugs, and locate missing people and items. Diesel, the two-year-old German shepherd, is the newest K-9 cop for the narcotics team.
"He's going to be a big asset to the department...and you know, having three instead of two narcotics dogs, I would imagine we might see the amount of cases go up...you know, just because of that extra asset and the chance to discover more illegal narcotics," said Chief of Public Safety Phil Webster.
Chief Webster wasn't looking for a new narcotics dog, but stumbled on the offer for a new dog by accident. The chief said he was in Starbucks when a woman approached him, offering 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. 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 introducing a new dog," Chief Webster said.
Diesel was evaluated by a police dog handler and it became history from there. 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, Diesel's advanced narcotics training means he will be sniffing out drugs, helping serve home warrants, and searching for missing people and items, Chief Webster said.
Diesel started training in October, and just started working the streets recently. He will officially be certified in March.
Chief Webster said the department is lucky to have had a dog donated. When you count the many hours of training and the cost that it would have been to buy the dog, 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 this time last year, leading to 14 arrests, Chief Webster said. During the same period for 2017, he said there's been 20 narcotics cases with 13 arrests. However, he said he expects the canine addition to 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...if we could just save on life from a good search by Diesel...then the program has already paid for itself," the chief said.
Diesel's handler and caretaker is ironically Lt. Andrew McCarter, the officer recognized and awarded for his efforts in catching armed bank robbery suspects in May 2016.