LPD selects Michael Armstrong to work as K-9 officer once new dog has arrived

LACONIA — Police Chief Christopher Adams told the Police Commission yesterday that Patrol Officer Michael Armstrong will train to be the next department K-9 officer.

Adams said former K-9 officer Sgt. Mike Finogle and Armstrong will be screening some dogs from the company who provided the department with "Jagger" a German Shepherd pup that didn't meet department standards after police went through most of a training program with him in 2012.

Adams said the department was credited with $5,000 when it returned "Jagger", who was handled by Officer Kevin Shortt.

A new dog costs the department around $8,000 and the money was raised through numerous fund-raising efforts in anticipation of the retirement of "Jago" – the K-9 now owned by Finogle that retired in early 2012.

The K-9 police training for Laconia is done in two parts — the first is tracking and the second is drug detection. Since the classes are only offered at specific times of the year, Adams estimates it will be a minimum of three to four months until Armstrong and his K-9 are ready.

Adams said Laconia is fortunate in that Gilford still has two dogs who work, "Ike" who is the newest K-9 to come into service and "Agbar", who is nearing retirement but still available when needed.

He said Laconia has lent its K-9 car to Gilford as a back up until Armstrong and his new dog are ready for service. He said Gilford is maintaining the cruiser during the time it is being used.

In other department news, Det. Sgt. Scott Roy will be retiring at the end of the month. Roy is the head of the detectives and has 20 years of experience in narcotics enforcement.

Adams said the department as a whole will continue to operate with six sergeants and the internal mechanisms to determine who will be the next sergeant is ongoing.

Adams also said recently he has been getting some e-mails from residents about drivers not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. He said his patrol officers will be stepping up crosswalk enforcement and drivers who do not stop could expect citations and fines.