The ranks of the Aynor Police Department recently grew by one four-legged officer, who will be on duty to help detect and deter drug use in the community.
The full-blooded Belgium Malawa named Daisy was purchased and trained along with her necessary equipment through a grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, Aynor Mayor Keb Johnson said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, officials will officially welcome the new K-9 unit to the department at 10:30 a.m. in the Firehouse Subs restaurant at 1211 38th Ave. N., in Myrtle Beach, said Emily Oliver with The Zimmerman Agency.
The foundation provides funding to police, fire, EMS departments and schools through an annual grant program for equipment and other education, Oliver said. Firehouse Subs has given $5.7 million, including $612,800 in South Carolina, through the program in 36 states and Puerto Rico.
Aynor officials received $26,450 through the Firehouse Subs program and Town Council added another $10,000, Johnson said. The funding purchased Daisy, training for her and her partner, Officer Chris Thompson, a vehicle, cooling system, dog kennel and other necessities.
Daisy will be used to detect drugs, explosives and in school and community drug prevention programs, Johnson said. Thompson is assigned to work with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit, which covers Horry and Georgetown counties.
Daisy arrived on Dec. 21 and since then she and Thompson have been training and working with each other, Johnson said.
“The more education the kids have about drugs and the dangers of drugs, and what it can do not only to a person, but to a family, the better,” Johnson said. “Our biggest thing right now will be to educate the kids and getting drugs off the streets. Drugs are around and kids are exposed to them on a daily basis. We also know in working with DEU for over a year in doing drug busts, we know a big majority come right through the town of Aynor. We’re going to help get them off the streets.”
Daisy will also work alongside another K-9 unit assigned to the DEU, Johnson said.
“We’ve devoted a lot of time and money in getting our police department up to date so it is second to none. This is just another addition to that,” Johnson said. “We’re working to not only protect citizens here in town from the drug trade, but also the people of Horry County.”
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.