Jefferson Hills Council Stands By Decision To Cut K-9 Officer

JEFFERSON HILLS (KDKA) — Dozens of people packed a Jefferson Hills borough meeting.

The borough laid off Fritz, its K-9 officer, for 2011, but the community wants the dog back on the force.

“No other officer on our force can match him when it comes to running, locating drugs or finding people,” one resident said. “His keen sense of smell, tracking ability and speed alone make him unmatchable by human abilities.”

Fritz was laid off due to budget cuts.

“The major cost is the comp time,” Christopher King, Jefferson Hills Borough President, said.

The wife of Fritz’s handler, Kim Gawlas, disputed the council’s cost evaluation by handing out copies of her husband’s pay stubs. She says there are funding solutions.

“We have citizens who have brought money in, I have funding that was from the attorney general’s office that is available if the borough would accept it,” she said.

Emotions ran high during the meeting, but the council stood firm on ending the K-9 program for now.

  • Marilea H

    I hope the council puts the K-9 officer back on duty. Fritz loves doing his job it is what he was breed to do. If the citizens of that borough are willing to fund the cost then there should be no reason not to put him back on active duty. He is a strong asset to the force.

    • citizen

      The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy. ~Woodrow Wilson

      No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. ~Abraham Lincoln

      A civil servant is sometimes like a broken cannon – it won’t work and you can’t fire it. ~George S. Patton

  • Kristinpgh

    What about the drug dealing motels down on rt 51 ?? So I say to Jefferson Council are you going to get down on the ground and sniff cars? SAVE OUR K-9 UNIT!!!

  • Daniel

    A political decision that is pennywise and pound foolish.

  • Donna

    Totally ridiculous. Many boroughs would die to have a great police dog, and our borough won’t accept our money to keep him. That is just crazy. Accept our donations and save Fritz. Looks like these council members don’t want re-elected.

  • porchhound

    He must have sniffed out some council stash or a brother-in-law’s…if it looks like stupidity it is usually corruption!

    • LOLA

      You hit the nail on the head!

  • joe roller

    The obtuse clowns on that council need to be voted out of office.

  • Suellen

    It was a very frustrating & disheartening meeting last night.

    There is no logical reason that I can see to maintain Fritz’s unexpected dismissal.
    All problems proposed by Council & by Interim Police Chief Maple were met with reasonable solutions (simple policy modifications, financial backing/donations, etc.), and many taxpaying citizens expressed their heartfelt desire to reinstate him into OUR community. A young lady stood at the podium with her Mother’s arm around her and bravely, through many tears, expressed to Council what Fritz means to her, and to her classmates, and begged them to reconsider.
    But, according to them, it is over & done, “the dog is GONE”.

    I am so disappointed in my Council, the Interim Chief, and in the Mayor – who was instrumental in this decision, but was not in attendance last night.

    • Monoco

      I guess the decision is … “doggone!”

    • Sheri

      I think the citizens of this town should hire them back or a nearby town should hire them. What will happen to the dog if they are not hired back? Will he be sold to someone else?

      All of these council members should be voted out of office. Our town is voting out all of the school board members and all of the city council members. It’s just unfortunate that they are not all up for reelection this year.

      • kippersun

        We will not forget these actions!

      • Suellen

        The citizens absolutely DO want to hire him back, that’s why the meeting was so emotional & volatile. It’s the Concil & the Interim Police Chief who won’t allow it in spite of all of the proposed solutions.
        Fritz is still currently living with his handler & family, Officer Chris Gawlas, which is good because they are very, very bonded – have been a “Team” for years.
        And yes, the residents of Jefferson Hills absolutely ARE working on voting out the Council. Khalil, Reynolds and Weber (I think) are up for re-election this spring. BUh-bye!!

  • Kate T

    Once again the people who are suppose to be representing the people in their community are not listening, replace them.

    • Vietvet

      Sounds like it is time to bring in a new group of council members who will listen to “We the people”. Vote them out. There you see problem solved. Oh and rehire the dog.

  • kate911

    The people are in charge. The council, mayor and police chief are YOUR representatives. Do what it takes to remove and replace them when they are not representing you or your community. Stop letting them dictate to you.

  • Justin

    According to the Chicago Tribune’s independent study:
    Tribune analysis: Drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops often wrong
    January 5, 2011 9:41 PM | No Comments

    Drug-sniffing dogs can give police probable cause to root through cars by the roadside, but state data show the dogs have been wrong more often than they have been right about whether vehicles contain drugs or paraphernalia.

    The dogs are trained to dig or sit when they smell drugs, which triggers automobile searches. But a Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia.

    For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.

    • Ron A

      This report doesn’t take into account that these dogs are trained to alert on the scent of drugs, so because there was no drugs at the time of the search, there could have been drugs in the care prior to the search and what the dog is alerting on is left residue from the drugs. Works the same way with explosive detection dogs. Drugs or explosive could have been in the car months before and the dog can still detect the smell.

      • Larry Smith

        Yes Ron – poor people buy used cars. Cars that were used for things they had nothing to do with. Their crime is being poor. Their penalty is harassment and unnecessary and unwarranted search and seizure.

      • Michelle

        No, poor people lease expensive cars. People who are smart with their money buy used cars.

        Governments that are smart with other people’s money budget enough to keep a police dog in action.

    • JLin

      What if the dog was smelling residue of drugs? There do not have to be a bunch of chock-full baggies for a dog to get an alert.

    • an EX Chicagoan

      Lol, Chicago?!? I wouldn’t trust anything I read from there & lived there 30 some years. You used to be able to get the truth from Mike Royko, but he is gone.
      If Chicago says its bad, it must it reality, be good. The most backwards low IQ town. Maybe only Detroit is worse. If the dog is bad, it was trained by someone from Illinois.
      No one believes anything from Chicago, Illinois.

  • VoiceofReason

    Serves the people of Jefferson right. They continue to vote in corrupt knuckleheads and jerks! A mayor that was going to leave and take a job in Philly anyway on day one over a well known retired police sergent. And then they bring back the same corrupt chief that cost the tax payers over $100k in court costs to get his job back. He’s as corrupt as the day is long and by the way is not even legal under the PA state laws to be a chief. Interesting how a little Podunk borough can usurp laws.

  • Mr. Wil

    This is America. Put up the signs and start now the recall now. The only way to effectively resolve issues like this is at the voting booth.

  • Phil

    Oh those racist dogs.

  • GFunk

    These dogs have to be worked on a daily basis, and if it isn’t the dog loses his ability to do what he was trained to do. The Council, Mayor, and Police Chiefs are a joke.

  • amplitude jones

    Sounds like he is TOO GOOD- as in, someone on the council does not want to get caught at something.

  • Ratt

    For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.

    I don’t believe that for one minute.

  • Al

    Somebody should check out the council crooks and find out who is on the take. Somebody DOES NOT WANT THIS DOG ON DUTY! That’s why they are not interested in funding alternatives, or free money from your AG’s office. If he is busting drug hustlers and such, somebody has a vested interest in seeing that he is retired. Wake up people!

    • colleen

      Thanks Al! are you a resident? We would love to meet you at the meeting on Monday!

    • Dan


  • Sean Patriot

    Will he get 52 weeks of Unemployment?

    • Shockly

      Good one!

  • RC

    You have to be kidding. Of all the money saving steps that COULD be talken they elect to remove the K-9? What is that going to save the town, $2000

  • festus

    is this dog in the UNION? you gots to be in tha union to werk for the guvment now. hail to obamao

    • spock

      Sad but True, come on the unions work so well just look what they did here in NYC drinking beer while plowing!!

  • buffalo

    Town of White Salmon, Wash. did the same thing. Citizens rallied to keep “Justice”, the police force canine, on the payroll.

  • Cigar

    Cut a bureaucrat not a COP or Fireman… But NOPE you can’t do that…

  • Nick

    As stated these are elected officials….Start a revolution and take steps to get them removed from office if you are unhappy. We citizens forget the power we can have, which are within our constitutional rights if we just organize and fight for what we believe in. Hold a protest, rally, etc. What would our founding fathers have done if they were unhappy with government?
    As far as the tribune article…Do a search and you will find that K9 noses are very accurate, even more so then many robotic sniffers used today.

  • walter12

    I am sure that the dog is worth much more than the whole city council combined.
    Keep the dog and instead get rid of the city council.

  • spock

    i am sure there DPW union workers are still employed. See the first to go with Libs is the police and /orany thing that works!

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