Eastlake Police Department to employ additional K-9 unit

The Eastlake Police Department will be receiving an additional K-9 unit this summer, pending the readiness of a new cruiser.

Named Tank, the K-9 will be partner to Patrolman Mark Pickett, who currently owns the dog after obtaining him through a friend. According to Chief Larry Reik, Pickett joined the Eastlake department about one year ago.

Tank was formerly an Ashtabula County Sheriff’s deputy K-9.

“My friend that I trained with, he’s a sergeant with the sheriff’s office out there and his wife was a handler,” Pickett said. “K-9 Tank was his wife’s dog. And they just rotated dogs, (so) I ended up getting Tank and she got a new one.”

Pickett joined Eastlake police last July after serving about four years with the Geneva Police Department. He said that he’s never worked with a K-9 on patrol, but has been involved with K-9s for several years.

“I’ve been training police dogs since 2012, when I got off active duty,” Pickett said.

While he was going through the hiring process with Eastlake, he had mentioned that becoming a K-9 handler was one of his career goals.

“After I got hired and got through training and all that good stuff, the chief asked me about K-9 Tank,” Pickett said. “It just kind of took off from there.”

Pickett said that Tank is certified in narcotics, tracking, handler protection, searches and apprehension. Reik also said that the cruiser could be ready in about four to six weeks.

“Whenever that gets done, we’ll be pretty much good to go,” Pickett said.

“This will be our second K-9, and (he) will help provide more coverage for drugs, tracking and apprehension for our city and nearby communities,” Reik said.

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