City donates drug-sniffing dog

Jared Tucker

Portales police are helping the Curry County Sheriff’s Office take a bite out of crime — they’re donating their only drug-sniffing dog.

Portales Police Chief Jeff Gill told City Council members on Tuesday that his only certified canine officer has resigned to pursue his passion for ranching, and none of his other officers want the job.

“We haven’t been using the dog to its full capacity for some time now, due to staffing levels,” Gill said.

Since there are no other officers interested in becoming a canine officer, Gill asked council members to declare Ronny the drug-sniffing dog as surplus property, so he can be donated to Curry County.

Gill said the long-haired German shepherd was offered to the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, but they declined. Roosevelt Deputy Chief Malin Parker cited budget restraints.

Curry County officials picked up Ronny on Monday, Gill said.

Gill said the dog will still be available for search warrant executions in Portales, but not having the dog will not affect his officers’ abilities to root out and prosecute routine narcotics offenders.

“Ronny will still be available to us. Curry County will gladly bring him up if we request him,” Gill said.

Gill said the three-month canine training, often held in Texas, is extensive and must be done every year to maintain the dog’s credibility in court. Gill said his officers simply do not have time to take on the dog.

Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said the donation of Ronny comes at the perfect time, since he has a certified canine officer with no dog.

“When Chief Gill first mentioned it, I really wanted to keep the dog in our region,” Murray said.

Murray said Phil Caroland, a sheriff’s investigator with the regional drug task force, has about two years worth of training with canines, which he acquired while working for the New Mexico Motor Transportation Division.

Murray said Ronny is about 5 1/2 years old.