Powell police are seeking a furry, four-legged teammate.

Powell police are seeking a furry, four-legged teammate.

The local police department is looking to add a police dog to its roster in the coming months to help sniff out drugs and track burglars.

At a May 15 meeting of Powell City Council, councilman Tom Counts reported alumni of the Powell Citizens Police Academy are spearheading efforts to raise money and public support for the acquisition of a K-9 unit.

Police Chief Gary Vest said the department currently is exploring its options.

"If we had the community support, and the alumni are able to raise the funds to support the dog, it would be a major benefit to the department," he said.

Vest said a K-9 unit would aid police investigations. Police dogs are able to sniff out drugs during traffic stops and could track the direction of a fleeing burglar during a crime-scene investigation.

They also can be used in other emergency situations, such as tracking a missing child.

Crime levels in Powell are relatively low compared with other cities, but incidents do occur, Vest said.

He said the department has considered obtaining a police dog in recent years, but has postponed the plan due to tight budgets.

Costs associated with a K-9 unit include purchasing the dog, training a handler and retrofitting a police car to make it suitable for transporting the dog, as well as regular costs such as dog food.

Citizens Police Academy alumni have started a fund to pay for start-up costs, Counts said.

A police officer would adopt the dog and keep it at his or her residence when not on duty. Four officers have expressed interest in becoming the handler.

Vest said the department is interested in hearing public feedback on the proposal.

In other news, the city received a clean audit of 2011 finances. The audit was reviewed at a recent meeting of council's finance committee.

"Staff works very hard to make sure those numbers are right," said Mayor Richard Cline.

Two residents also were recognized at the May 15 council meeting for their community service efforts in Powell.

Kent Bermingham was recognized for contributions to restoration efforts at the Powell Cemetery. He installed a decorative stone wall around the cemetery's perimeter and is repairing headstones that are in poor condition.

Jill King also was recognized for numerous landscaping contributions at the Village Green. She funded the landscape bed that runs along the entire length of the police station, and she provided landscaping around the Powell Veterans Memorial.

She also helped in the cemetery restoration project.