Abandoned pit bull gets new life as K-9 officer for small Indiana police department

Jasper the Pitbull K-9 officer in training (WTHR)

KENNARD, Ind. (WTHR) — Kennard is a small town in western Henry County with a population of about 400 people. The town does have a police department. Now, Kennard has its own police K9 to fight the opioid crisis hurting many small towns in Indiana.

Kennard Chief Deputy Don Crabtree brought home Jasper, a 2-year-old pit bull, about a week ago.

"He's awesome,” said Crabtree. “I can't express how amazing he is. He's great at home. He's good at work. He's knows when this harness comes out he has to kind of turn things on."

Jasper came to Kennard donated by the Throw Away Dogs Project. The organization rescues high-intensity, but loyal dogs facing likely euthanasia and trains them for police work. Jasper was rescued as a stray on the streets of Prince William County, Virginia.

Jasper is not an attack dog. His training is narcotics detection. Jasper can sniff out cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana.

"We had numerous drug arrests already without Jasper,” said Crabtree. “Having him is just going to be an added benefit just to try to keep getting more drugs off the streets."

Kennard has nine officers. Only the police chief is paid, and just part-time. Crabtree is not paid as Chief Deputy. The town could never afford the $10-15,000 for a K9, but Jasper's skills are needed.

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"We have a small town,” said Kinnard resident Kami Doubman. “Drugs are kind of known in this area. I think it would be just a great opportunity for us to have that."

"Smaller towns, it seems to attract that type of activity, because let's face it, there's young kids, young adults that get bored,” said Crabtree.

Jasper doesn't get bored. Crabtree says his pit bull has the perfect drive for the job, but Jasper is not aggressive or a biter. He completed about 160 hours of training before Crabtree went to New Jersey to train with the dog.

Crabtree joined the Kennard Police Department about a year ago. He began looking into acquiring a K9 at the start of the summer. He filled out an application for adoption with the Throw Away Dogs Project and was selected.

The Kennard Police Department is selling t-shirts on its Facebook page to raise money for Jasper’s care and training and to support the Throw Away Dogs Project.

Crabtree has also set up a GoFundMe page for the Kennard K9.