GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — On average, a Greenville Police K9 costs about $14,000 per dog but time and time again they’ve proven to be an invaluable resource for the city.
“We start with a high standard,” says Greenville Police Department K9 handler Brian Neague. “Our dogs are expensive but our K9s are involved in the majority of the intense, high calls right now.”
Expensive, but worth every penny. In August alone, GPD K9s tracked eight people, located 13 items for evidence and 450 assorted narcotics, went to two bomb threats, and participated in six community demonstrations. There is always a K9 on the clock in Greenville.
“If someone’s breaking in to something; If there’s a suspect; If someone is running,” Neague explains. “But not only that but if there is a missing child if there is any type of in progress call a K9 is going to be dispatched out not to mention all alarm activations.”
With six police dogs on duty in the city, the dogs are busy. Neague says it’s important for handlers to always be on top of their game. He works closely with Chesty, a full breed German Shepherd, who is always laser focused.
“Dogs don’t have the limits of bias,” says Neague. “They don’t have political affiliations. They don’t have views beyond what they can see and smell.”
Neague is Chesty’s second handler. Just like people, the dogs have different personalities. Neague says he had to take a unique approach to earn Chesty’s trust.
“He’s a narcotics patrol dog,” Neague says. “He’s dual purpose. And he’s known for being a little anti-social. So, to get him to build a rupert with me we just spent a lot of time together in his kennel watching Netflix.”
This time spent together worked wonders. The team now responds to multiple calls per shift and the dogs expertise are tested each day at work. We decided to put Chesty to the test.
He gives a quick demonstration as he sniffed out drugs planted in the room. With ease, Chesty avoided tennis balls, peanut butter, tea, and even a warm sausage biscuit, all items that would tend to serve as distractions for normal dogs. But not for Chesty. He quickly found the plant and did not falter from his mission once.
Neague says he is proud of Chesty and loves working with him every day. The City of Greenville trains and maintains each dog on the roster but each K9 handler says the bond is priceless.
“He’s the best partner I’ve got,” Neague says.
That’s why when Chesty finally hangs up his badge in about a year and a half, he will be officially adopted by the Neague family. He will then also be given couch privileges, likely to continue his Netflix viewing sessions under more comfortable conditions.