Updated Sat, Mar 8, 2014 6:41 am
After a 26-year career, Officer Krishea Osborne is hanging up her uniform for the last time with the Athens Police Department.
With her retirement, her partner also gets more time to play.
Osborne is planning to retire as the canine officer, and her partner, Jersey, will join her, effective in August.
“It’s time for both of us to take a step back and enjoy life,” Osborne said.
Jersey has logged 10 years and more than $100,000 in drug finds since he began on the job in 2004. Having a canine like Jersey on the scene was beneficial for all law enforcement involved, according to Osborne.
“It makes everything safer,” Osborne said. “When the dog’s on scene, you have less people that really want to become violent.”
Jersey also works with other officers when trying to locate people and investigating a scene, helping the speed and safety of an operation, Osborne said.
“I would say 55 percent of the times that I’m using Jersey there’s an arrest,” Osborne said.
Osborne’s and Jersey’s retirement might mean the end of the entire unit until more resources are available, according to Police Chief Tom Pyle.
“(Osborne) has left a legacy, but it’s hard enough to get money for standard cruisers let alone for a specially-equipped one that you need for a canine unit and the equipment you need,” Pyle said.
In the department’s annual report, Pyle wrote that 2014 would be the last year for the canine unit, which he says is primarily a monetary decision.
“It’s not just the acquisition of the dog it’s the cruiser, it’s the dog equipment, it’s the training, it’s a lot of things to think about,” Pyle said. “And we just don’t have the money in the budget right now.”
Athens has had a history of canine units that dates back to 1996, according to department records.
The first canine partner Osborne had with the Athens Police Department was Pepsie, whom she worked with from 1996-2004.
Pepsie was a part of a drug task force that has since been disbanded, but Osborne estimated that he found millions of dollars in illegal drugs and cash. Pepsie worked for the department until the day he died in 2004.
According to a police newsletter on the history of the unit, Pepsie located two suspects who were fleeing police on the day he died.
Before Pepsie came Ringo, the first canine unit for the police department, who was assigned to Officer Jim Michael. Ringo worked from 1996 to 2001 and was retired from service due to health issues.
The department can and has used units from the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol when needed, and Pyle isn’t writing off the possibility that the unit could return.
The Ohio University Police Department is also working on acquiring a bomb-sniffing dog for large-scale events, according to OUPD Chief Andrew Powers. The acquisition has not yet been finalized.