McPherson’s Sheriff’s Department may not renew its K-9 unit.

McPherson’s Sheriff’s Department may not renew its K-9 unit.

Currently, the department has one dog in its K-9 unit. That dog is set to retire toward the end of the decade.

The sheriff’s department shared the possibility of retiring its K-9 unit during a budget hearing with county commissioners on Tuesday.

Sheriff Larry Powell said the cost of training the dog, and the occasion on which the dog is used, is costing the department more than necessary.

“Most local police and sheriff departments are actually getting rid of their K-9 units,” Powell said.

McPherson’s Police Department discussed retiring its own K-9 unit within 18 months.

Outdated tasers prove ineffective

The sheriff’s department also shared the need of upgrading its tasers.

Currently, the department utilizes taser equipment from a company no longer in business, Powell said.

And those tasers have proven unreliable. In a recent incident, Powell said it took three tries before bringing down a subject arrested on May 23 in Inman.

Adrain Squires, 29, of Inman was arrested after assaulting a highway trooper and severely breaking the trooper’s leg. A $250,000 bond was posted for that charge.

“He was seconds away from being shot,” Powell said, “and it’s always preferable to tase someone as opposed to shooting them.”

The new tasers to be purchased are priced around $400 to $500 per taser. Powell said the change will save the department a significant amount of money.

The old equipment will be destroyed, as tasers cannot be resold. Powell said the old equipment also would be distributed among local law enforcement agencies as the need arose.

In other business:

• Jana McKinney, family and consumer agent for the McPherson County Extension Office, said plans for building improvements for the county fairgrounds and McPherson’s 4-H building have fallen through, as a consultant hasn’t been hired. Commissioner Ron Loomis said available funds are the issue, citing a 1.5 percent cut by the Kansas Legislature.

It isn’t yet known how the cut will be handled by the extension office.

• David Page, county attorney, said he’s looking for software to allow better public access to county court records. He said his search came as a response to Kansas State Senate Bill 66, which would require county attorneys to provide monthly reports to the Kansas attorney general and, in essence, to the public. The bill didn’t pass, but Page said he expects the bill to pass by 2015 after some revision.

• Cindy Teser, with McPherson District Court, said court services is looking for ways to save money on meals for jurors, rather than simply buying pizza each day. Pizza purchases, she said, were costing court services $100 each day.

• Alana Murphy, executive director of McPherson Family Life Center, said the center’s programs have managed to exceed goals for 2013. The goal for 2013, she said, was to serve at least 20 families in its Parent Link program. The center is currently serving 37 families in that program, including some rural families. Murphy said the fuel budget for the center has significantly increased due to the center’s success with this program.