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MILLERSBURG -- In what has become unintended reciprocity, the Holmes County commissioners agreed to donate to the Danville Police Department a cruiser no longer needed by the Holmes County Sheriff's Office.
Installed in the 2011 Crown Victoria is a K-9 cage, which was loaned to the sheriff's office by Danville, following the July 2015 hire of Deputy Ryan Peterman, who came to the department with K-9 Rif.
Holmes County has since acquired a new K-9 equipped SUV to be used by Peterman, and Danville PD, needing its cage back for a new dog of its own, inquired about the cruiser.
The car, which has more than 145,000 on it, is virtually worthless, especially absent the cage, which replaced the vehicle's back seat, according to Chief Deputy Richard Haun.
Despite a brief discussion, including concerns from Commissioner Rob Ault the county not establish a precedent of giving away property, the group agreed to do so, at the request of Haun and Holmes County Sheriff Timothy W. Zimmerly.
He said the loan saved his department from having to buy a new cage, which would have cost about $4,000, and the return donation helps not only a neighboring department, but one that suffered the unimaginable loss of an on-duty officer. Officer Thomas Cottrell was shot and killed on Jan. 17, 2016.
"It's odd it turned around that way," Danville Chief Daniel J. Weckesser said of the cruiser donation.
It will be used for the newest addition to the department's K-9 team, which includes Wesckesser and Diesel, Sgt. Chad Lishness and TC (so named in memory of Cottrell) and, most recently, Officer Mark Perkins and Rezza.
The program was given new life thanks to donations for the purchase of dogs, said Wesckesser, who suspects much of that was fueled by Cottrell's death.
"I've made the comment, I feel all of our officers on this side of the county should have a dog in our car because, often, we're working solely by ourselves," he said, acknowledging the ambush on Cottrell is proof Danville and all small communities deal with the same problems, just on a smaller scale, as the larger cities.
Rezza, who went to work with the Village almost two months ago, is shaping up to be what Weckesser thinks will be "our top drug dog," having already proved her worth helping Perkins find meth, heroin and marijuana.
And, while the old cruiser needs some work, Weckesser said, "We can always fix a car up. It's very nice of them to donate us a vehicle."
Otherwise, we're not financially set to get another K-9 car.
"Hopefully, in the future, we can continue to work back and forth. We already do quite a bit together on cases," he said, adding, "At any time, if (Holmes County) would ever need us, I can assure us we'd be in route."
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.