Chief Conrad and K-9 Fury

Punxsutawney Police Chief Matt Conrad is pictured with K-9 Officer Fury.

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Police Chief Matt Conrad shared that K-9 Officer Fury was recently certified for patrol and tracking, and he has been working with other local departments on search and rescue protocols.

Fury received his patrol certification at the end of May, which is the same certification as K-9 officers in DuBois and St. Marys. Conrad and Fury were also called out recently for the missing person that was reported in Treasure Lake, which sparked some discussion during the Punxsutawney Borough Council meeting on Monday.

Councilman Larry Chenoga opened discussion on allowing Conrad to take his police vehicle home to shorten his dispatch time during such emergencies when a tracking dog is needed.

“Now, when you’re dealing with search and rescue, time is the utmost need for rescuing somebody or helping somebody. So my request from borough council would be to allow the chief to take our borough vehicle home with him because if he gets called out at night, by the time he drives into town and gets his dog loaded and all of his equipment loaded, you’re losing a lot of time,” Chenoga said.

Conrad echoed this, saying that in the case of the Treasure Lake incident, he had to drive into the department to get his vehicle, and then get to DuBois. He said if he had the emergency vehicle at his home, which is on the DuBois side of Punxsutawney, it could have saved him at least 30 minutes of response time.

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This also sparked discussions among the three departments who have K-9 officers, Punxsutawney, DuBois and St. Marys, to create the best protocol for them to all be dispatched in such situations.

“Recently, there were a couple searches that have happened, and what we’re doing is trying to get all on the same call block that way if something happens in Jefferson County, around our area, then Elk County and Clearfield County are automatically coming down. So, that way we have three dogs here and vice versa, Clearfield or Elk counties we would go up there and assist them,” Conrad said.

The council approved the request for the chief to take his borough vehicle home.

Conrad said the K-9 patrol certification was something added to the department’s plan later.

“He’s always had the tracking background, but once we started going through everything, we just figured we’d do a full patrol certification,” Conrad said.

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