GALLIPOLIS — A new officer has joined the ranks of the Gallipolis Police Department following the retirement of a dedicated member of the department’s team.
On May 4, a new K-9 officer was state certified to work alongside Police Lieutenant Matt Champlin within the City of Gallipolis.
Champlin, who has worked with his now retired partner, Virago, for the past 11 years, recently spoke to the Gallipolis City Commission of his new partner, two-year old German Shepherd, Kris.
“Kris is the same caliber of dog of what Virago was. As far as the training, he is a dual-purpose, aggressive alert, narcotics canine, which basically, the summation of that is, he is a patrol dog, so he does tracking, evidence recovery, building search, area search, and apprehension — all the work that Virago did — as well as the detection of narcotics.
According to Champlin, he and Kris have been active on the road since his certification and, while he is looking forward to the years ahead working with his new partner, he is very proud of Virago’s accomplishments.
“Obviously, we’ve got some pretty big paws to fill with Virago. Virago was on the road for right at 11 years, had a pretty successful career. I am pretty pleased with that career. I am pretty pleased with what he was able to accomplish, not just in the law enforcement venue of catching criminals and finding drugs, but the public relations aspect of it as well,” Champlin said. “We did a countless number of public demonstrations stemming everywhere from preschools to the senior citizens center and just about every facet in between. He’s had an impact on the community in the county, not just the city. For a public relations standpoint for the police department, a dog is a huge, huge asset I feel.
“For the money that we paid for Virago, we more than feel like we got a pretty substantial service life out of him. Most dogs don’t live to be 11 years old, let alone work the street for 11 years. We feel pretty fortunate in that,” he said.
According to Champlin, Virago continues to maintain his good health, and he will continue to maintain Virago’s training in the event that the police department would need to call upon his services again in the near future.
The lieutenant further expressed his appreciation for the support of the city commissioners, who approved funding for Kris’ purchase and training.
“I appreciate the commission’s continued support. Obviously, we couldn’t maintain this program without you guys and your vote of confidence,” Champlin said.