AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - The Aiken Department of Public Safety has started looking for a second K-9 Narcotics officer, thanks to Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger's foundation, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at the Giving Back Fund, picked ADPS as the second recipient for the grant this year.
Officers said the department currently has one dog on staff, but had two. The second dog, K-9 Sasha, passed away from cancer.
"K-9 Sasha was a tremendous asset to our department," Lt. Jake Mahoney said. "She averaged over 100 drug cases a year, meaning that's 100 more individuals who weren't selling illegal drugs on our streets and in our schools to our children."
ADPS said they want the new officer on board in the next six months, but won't rush the process. They will pick the right breed first, then train the dog extensively.
"We choose from certified breeders and trainers from across the country," Lt. Jake Mahoney said. "It's a competitive bidding process."
He said it's competitive and expensive. The dogs come with a hefty price tag.
"Dogs can run anywhere from $7,000 to upwards of $11,000," Lt. Mahoney said. "We really appreciate the consideration we were given as a community."
Lt. Mahoney said the K-9 will help with vehicle stops, area searches and drug searches, as well as assist with search warrants and local schools.
ADPS said the dog could be a Labrador retriever, a Belgian Malinois or a German Shepard. K-9 dogs spend 24 hours a day with their handlers and go to work whenever the handler does.