By Kyle Koehler
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
The Ingham County Law and Courts Committee unanimously approved a replacement of a Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit dog after one’s recent death and heard the Circuit Court Family Division give its quarterly report during its meeting on Feb. 27.
The K-9 resolution requested the purchase of a new dog after Luger, a 5-year-old dog that worked with the department for years, suffered a tragic accident in the recent storm.Maj. Joel Maatman said that after a particularly bad storm, the dog was in the handler’s house before being taken back to its kennel. The storm flared up again, causing a branch to fall on the kennel and frighten the dog.
“Any time there’s a sound like thunder, dogs get scared,” Maatman said. “The dog ran out and got hit by a car.”
The new dog, which will be purchased through a contract with Mid Michigan Kennels, is quoted to cost $7,500, which includes the purchase of the dog, its transfer from overseas, and the training necessary to bring it up to standards.
Luger’s handler has since been promoted, with the Sheriff’s Department holding interviews later this month.
Maatman hopes to have the new dog by April and fully trained by June 1.
Court Family Division Report
Deputy Court Administrator Maureen Winslow gave the Ingham County Law and Courts Committee a quarterly report on the division’s operations.
The biggest change, Winslow said, was the significant drop in residential placement. Although there were a lot of factors that went into the drop, Winslow said that the biggest reason was that the “staff is doing a terrific job maintaining resources and keeping juveniles and families accountable.”
According to the report, in-state residential placement dropped roughly 32 percent from 19 to 13. Out-of-state placement dropped 67 percent from 21 to seven.
Winslow said out-of-state placement is given only if the program is a “better match for the treatment needs for individual youths.”
Another notable change was the amount of petitions received during this quarter, which jumped more than 14 percent from 306 to 357 from the previous quarter, which could be because of holidays, when more crimes are committed, according to Winslow.
Winslow also commended her staff on its sexual offense program.
“We have the best, if not in the top three, sex offender programs for juveniles in the state of Michigan,” Winslow said, adding that these cases are especially troublesome to judges. “It is important to have this program to treat both juveniles and their families.”
The number of juveniles ordered into sex offender programs dropped from 25 to 23 last quarter.