Frank Balles, Republican candidate for Atlantic County Sheriff, said today, as Sheriff, he would create a K-9 unit in the department to bolster its fight against drugs and to serve, as needed, as a backup for municipal police departments.
?The use of dogs trained to sniff out narcotics and explosives has proven its value time and again,? Balles said, ?resulting in arrests of drug dealers, confiscation of illegal weapons and cash from illegal transactions.?
A captain in the Pleasantville Police Department, which has K-9 unit, Balles pointed to the arrests there two weeks ago and police seizure of nine pounds of marijuana, 950 bags of heroin and $16,000 in cash.
?The use of our dog played a central role in the arrests and in getting the illegal drugs off the street,? Balles said.
He said the incumbent Sheriff Jim McGettigan promised the creation of a K-9 unit in his campaign for office 15 years ago and never delivered.
?He failed as well to fulfill his pledge to create a narcotics team, a dive team and a bomb squad,? he said. ?He eliminated supplemental Sheriff?s officers patrols in the western part of the county in 1994 and was 20 years late in installing stolen motor vehicle detection devices in departmental vehicles.?
Balles said any costs associated with the creation of a K-9 unit could be met through a more responsible allocation of existing resources, and with the money confiscated through any drug busts carried out by this unit.
?McGettigan?s tenure in office has been marked by one broken promise after another, continuing failures to take advantage of technological advances to fight crime, and an inability to deploy personnel effectively,? Balles said.
?The taxpayers and citizens of Atlantic County have been ill-served by McGettigan,? Balles said. ?For their tax dollars, they deserve a modern, up to date crime fighting agency which places the safety and security of the public — not political advantage — above all else.?
Balles is a 23-year veteran of the Pleasantville Department, rising through the ranks from street patrolman to hold administrative and management positions as well as serve as acting Chief.