Madison Township will lose an important tool in its fight against crime when K9 unit dog JT and township police officer Eric Rose leave the force Oct. 18.
Rose said he has accepted a position as a K9 trainer for the Naval Special Warfare Group in Virginia Beach, Va.
"I was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, attached to an anti-terrorism team that conducted multiple missions in the Middle East region," he said. "That background, combined with being so active with JT, is what landed me this job. It's a great opportunity for me and my family."
Township officials were aware that JT's service career was coming to an end and had been discussing an eventual replacement, however, Police Chief Michael Ratliff said Rose's resignation means the department will have to move up its timeline.
"It'll take some time to find a replacement and won't be a smooth transition like we'd have liked," Ratliff said. "But we give our congrats to officer Rose, who has been a real benefit to the community."
Rose has served the township over the past three and a half years.
During that time, he said, the number of drug offense charges increased by 720 percent, due in part to the unique abilities of a K9 unit. Beyond that, he said, more than $1.2-million in drug, cash and vehicle seizures were tallied over JT's service career from 2007-2013.
Township trustee Gary McDonald also thanked Rose for his service and said the board is committed to maintaining a K9 unit for the community in order to continue to combat drug and other criminal activities.
However, like Ratliff, McDonald said finding a replacement is not a simple process.
"This can take months, involving the purchase of another K9, selection of an officer, and as to contractual matters and the long-term process of training both the K9 and handler," McDonald said.
Ratliff said he's already begun working with trustees, and it does help that the township already has some assets in place, such as the K9 unit cruiser.