Thursday, February 11, 2010
A K-9 controversy in one Kansas town appears to be resolved. Administrators in Kechi came under fire last week for attempting to give away the city's police dog in a lottery drawing.
Last week, Kechi City Administrator Mark Tallman circulated an email saying the city's specially trained K-9 Eva needed a good home since her handler left the police department. What followed ended up striking a nerve with a lot of people.
"The motion carries 5-0," said Kechi Mayor Robert Jackson.
The council voted to allow for Eva to be transferred to Halstead Police Officer Nick Holzrichter. Holzrichter was Eva's handler at the Kechi Police Department up until about two weeks ago.
However, with one controversy resolved, another may be looming. According to an Ark Valley Newspaper article, the Kansas Department of Labor has an open investigation involving the City of Kechi and it may have to do with how Holzrichter was being paid.
"The only thing I know about it is what's in the newspaper," said Mayor Jackson. "The city has not been contacted in any way or form."
At least one Kechi resident is not happy, despite Eva';s good outcome.
"Just because the K-9 unit has been relocated, it doesn't address the problem of the city administrator acting without the mayor and city council's approval," said Kechi resident Rick Eberhard. "The fact remains he cannot be trusted."
Meanwhile, another resident felt the situation was blown out of proportion.
"Mark followed up with an email apologizing, saying that he jumped the gun," said Richard Wolf, another Kechi resident. "I think he realized that he jumped the gun and to me the issue was closed."
The mayor says he had been out of town and did not know about the controversy until he returned. His initial recommendation was to allow Eva to stay with Officer Holzrichter.
"The officer is very familiar with the dog and has trained with the dog," Jackson said. "He has worked closely with Eva for over a year. I believe this is the best of all situations."
Officer Nick Holzrichter is now with the Halstead Police Department. With the Kechi City Council's approval Thursday night, Holzrichter will be able to pick up Eva on Friday and get back on the streets to fight drugs.