ALTOONA, PA (WTAJ) – The Altoona Police Department has announced that grant funding they received will be going towards getting two canine workers.

They’ll be getting two canine officers that are certified in narcotics detection and tracking for the first time in nearly 40 years after Operation Our Town announced that Altoona was the recipient of their grant.

The labs will be trained and certified by Keystone Police K-9 LLC.

Two officers will be selected to become canine handlers and will also receive training and certification from Keystone Police K-9, LLC.  Upon successful completion of training and certification, the canine handlers and their canine partners will be assigned to patrol shifts within the department.

The dogs will also play active roles in the community as the force will be able to take them to community and school events.

Sergeant Matt Plummer said that they’ve been borrowing canines from other departments when they need them, but they decided that it was finally time to get their own.

“Police departments are so busy, that they’re not necessarily available for us to use at all times,” Plummer said. “We do a lot of drug investigations here within the department. It’s something that is a necessity for us, and it’s going to be a great help.”

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The force hopes to have the proper equipment to hold canines and the training done by spring.