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Posted on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

Ypsilanti police's K-9 unit will be shared with Pittsfield Township

By Katrease Stafford

Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township will share a K-9 police patrol unit as part of a four-year partnership that will begin Jan. 1, 2013.


Officer Tony Schembri and Buky visited with students at Adams Elementary School.

Ronald Wiedbusch | Contributor

The Ypsilanti City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the contract. The Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees approved its portion of the contract earlier this month.

Ypsilanti's K-9 unit was established in 2007 with a trained dog, a Belgian shepherd named Buky, and handler, Officer Anthony Schembri. Pittsfield Township eliminated its K-9 unit a few years ago due to budget issues.

Police Chief Amy Walker negotiated the deal with Pittsfield Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger. The agreement is that the city will provide the K-9 unit and the township will provide the vehicle. Walker said the vehicle from the township will provide a nearly $40,000 savings for the city.

Officials said the city has an older vehicle that is nearing replacement and the township has a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe that is suitable for a K-9 unit with some minor additions. The vehicle will be outfitted with both Pittsfield and Ypsilanti decals.

The officer would be granted police powers in the township and the K-9 unit will respond to requests from both jurisdictions. City officials expect that the K-9 unit will spend most of its time in Ypsilanti.

Walker said the Ypsilanti K-9 unit has been "very successful" since its inception. Last year, the K-9 unit received 100 calls for service, 60 of which were for the city's own needs and the rest for other surrounding communities. The city has a mutual aid agreement with other communities.

Walker said the agreement would prioritize the calls for Pittsfield, which in the last year needed the city's services six times.

"We (the city and township) talk about what we can do together and explore efforts," Walker said. ""It's a win-win for both communities and shows the collaborations we can do."


Harshberger previously told that the township also has been using other departments’ K-9 units.

The agreement with the Ypsilanti Police Department would have Pittsfield Township pay costs associated with the vehicle, while the YPD would house the unit, Harshberger said.

The Ypsilanti Police Department would be responsible for the officer’s salary and any costs associated with the dog, Harshberger said. The agreement states the township will reimburse the city for overtime costs in excess of 15 hours per month incurred by providing services to Pittsfield.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:38 a.m.

YPD, the best of the best. Keep up the good work and stay safe.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

I believe it is a WIN-WIN situation. Luv it!


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

So a couple questions? Did either department state what they are going to due if.... The K9 unit is out of the city for any length of time? It would drop the City of Peace down to two Officers working. Or he is not working when Pittsfield needs him? This seems like a mess waiting to happen.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Oh good, the drug war advances. We're supposed to be happy about that because it involves adorable fluffy dogs?


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

You DO know that the dog is also used for tracking people... Which means that it helps to find criminals as well as lost/endangered people?


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

There's one thing I love knowing about K9 Officers (the dog).... they are almost always invariably trained by and live with their handlers. Those are dogs with great lives. I don't think it's even possible for a K9 handler to be a bad "pet owner" just because of how involved they are required to be with the animal. You want to see that true and sincere animal-human connection just look at any K9 will always be there.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

I have to summon all my self control when I see a police dog or a service dog, because I just want to go up and pet it! Thanks YPD!