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Steubenville’s K-9 program to continue

The Steubenville Police Department has been short an officer for just about two months now, but that opening soon will be filled.

That’s the good news members of City Council received during Tuesday’s meeting when they learned that the Teramana family had agreed to cover the cost of replacing Bono. A Belgian Malinois, Bono had served with Sgt. Rob Cook as the city’s K-9 unit for eight years until he died unexpectedly on Nov. 7.

The generosity of the Teramanas came as no surprise to City Council. They helped to cover the original costs associated with bringing Bono to the city, and, as 6th Ward Councilman Bob Villagmagna pointed out, the Teramanas always have been willing to help the community and have done things for the city without having been asked.

A look at the statistics compiled by Bono and Cook in the 10 months through last October shows that it is important for the city’s K-9 program to continue. The pair helped other agencies, including local police agencies, the U.S. Marshal Service, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Jefferson County Special Response Team more than 200 times. Bono’s resume included responding to 579 calls that resulted in 220 drug seizures, 160 drug paraphernalia seizures and 20 firearm seizures.

In addition to work in the field, Bono appeared as an ambassador for the City Police Department, taking part in 24 public relations events at schools and with other organization.

Villamagna added that canines are able to use their unique abilities and powerful senses to help locate lost children, hiding suspects and drugs — and are fearless when confronting suspects, even to the point that they will sacrifice their own life to protect their partner.

As an added bonus, the ability to replace Bono means the city will be able to have two K-9 units — City Council already had set aside money to purchase a new dog.

Through Bono, the city was able to recognize the importance of having a K-9 officer. It’s good to know the program will continue — and that families like the Teramanas are willing to step up and help their community.

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