Council sorts out concerns, hires K-9

SALINEVILLE-After a somewhat tumultuous special meeting last Thursday in which council voted to hire a K-9 officer, while excluding his canine due to liability concerns, council brought the officer’s four-legged partner on board Monday night.

Council unanimously approved the hire of veteran K-9 officer Matthew Devlin of Akron last week. However, Mayor Mary Smith said she would not recommend the hiring of his partner, “Bella,” without first checking with the village’s insurance provider to see what liability issues might arise.

At that meeting, Smith also made clear she was in favor of the village having a K-9 unit, but felt uncomfortable recommending the complete K-9 untit until she or council had determined any potential liability issues or necessary changes needed to the village’s insurance policy.

On Monday, Smith reported to council she had spoken to the village’s insurance underwriter who had said the village’s current policy would be able to extend liability coverage to the canine. However, Smith stated she could not yet provide hard financial numbers when it came to any additional cost in the village’s policy.

Councilman Brian Tedeschi said he, too, had spoken with the insurance company and had been informed that liability coverage for the K-9 would likely cost more, but not significantly more than a typical police officer. He said the additional cost would be added to the village’s insurance premium.

Smith noted that Devlin would need to provide the insurance company with proof of Bella’s certification, though she did not explain what type of certification.

Devlin and Bella, who was approved unanimosly by council to join her partner as part of the Salineville Police Department, are scheduled to be sworn in on Wednesday.