March 20. 2013 10:13PM

Two dogs to join Nashua police force

Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA - Arex and Tango will be the newest members of the Nashua police force, as an aldermanic committee on Wednesday unanimously approved the purchase of the two police dogs.

With very little discussion, the Finance Committee authorized spending $13,000 in drug forfeiture funds to purchase a German shepherd and a Belgian Malinois.

"I think they are a wonderful part of your routine," Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly said of the dogs. The two new dogs will join two other dogs in the department's canine unit, including Ginger, a bloodhound tracking dog, and Mautz, a German shepherd patrol and narcotics dog. The dogs are handled by officers Jeff Connors and Robert Dunn.

The dogs are a tremendous asset to the department, as they serve as another tool to help law enforcement with criminal investigations, said police officials. They are used to track criminals from crime scenes, search for lost individuals, apprehend fleeing suspects and more.

"I really do believe that people respond differently to animals," Pressly said.

According to Capt. Bruce Hansen, the two new dogs will be replacing retired police dogs that left the department in 2009 and 2011.

Sgt. John Harvey of the Nashua Police Department led the search to find the two new working dogs. Harvey has visited with the two dogs, testing and evaluating them with their future handlers from the police department.

According to police officials, the new dogs and their handlers will be trained by Troy Casey of the Boston Police Department, who has been training the city's canine unit for many years. The dogs will be enrolled in a Police Canine Academy, according to the proposed purchase agreements with TBLACKK9 of Middleboro, Mass.

Arex, a male German shepherd, and Tango, a male Belgian Malinois, are both being sold for $6,500 each.

If the dogs cannot be certified as police canines, the seller will replace them with other dogs, or issue a full refund.

Most of the expenses for the city's police canine unit, which was started in 1996, are paid with drug forfeiture money, although additional costs are defrayed by local businesses though donations of supplies.