LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Nevada Highway Patrol is working to preserve its K-9 program after six of the eight troopers working with the dogs asked to be reassigned.
Department of Public Safety Director Chris Perry told The Associated Press Thursday that he has met with the troopers and hopes to persuade them to stay on. The troopers submitted individual requests to be reassigned on Monday. The state paid for them to travel to Carson City Tuesday for a meeting to address their concerns.
The troopers had heard a rumor that the dogs were going to be retrained and were upset, Perry said. In their resignation letters, the troopers all state that they are concerned that the dogs will be trained by local police departments, instead of according to the state's longtime practices. The troopers said that local public safety dogs are not as well trained as the state dogs. "I am puzzled and disappointed in the administration's decision to lower our K-9 standards," one of the troopers wrote.
Perry said there are no plans to overhaul the program. "I don't know what's driving this," he said. "They are not going to have their dogs retained. It's too expensive."
Perry sent a letter to the troopers Thursday to reassure them that the program will continue. It's unknown whether the letter will persuade the troopers to stay with their dogs. Perry said the program will continue regardless of their decisions. "We have a resource we have to protect for the state, which is the dog," he said.
The troopers who asked to be reassigned work in Las Vegas, Reno, Winnemucca, Wells and Ely, Perry said. The two K-9 troopers who were not part of the mass resignation work in Las Vegas.
Perry was promoted to director in December by newly elected Gov. Brian Sandoval.