CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Conway Police Department has one K9 unit currently, but if the department gets enough votes in a grant competition, it could add another.

Roko is a 6-year-old German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix who joined the Conway Police Department five years ago when he finished training. Officer Richard Currier has been his handler for about a year and a half.

“I spend more time with him than I do with anyone else in the world,” Currier said. “I know that dog better than I know anyone else in the world. I just, I know when he’s up, I know when he’s down.”

Roko is specialized in narcotics detection, tracking, basic obedience, criminal apprehension, and article searches. 

Conway Police Chief, Dale Long, tells News13 the number of calls for a K9 are up so adding another K9 would help the department.

Currier and Roko are essentially on call 24/7 and when on shift Roko can run up to 20 calls. While another K9 unit could help share the load, Currier says it would also free up time for additional training and community engagement.

“It doesn’t just add to the operational side, but it adds a lot of community outreach,” he said. “So, if you see a birthday party on the side of the road we can stop not just as a police officer, but a police officer with a K9 that everyone loves. People love dogs, that’s just how it is.”

The Conway Police Department was nominated for the Aftermath K9 grant, which if awarded would get the department $25,000 closer to adding a K9 unit.

To get and train the dog and handler it can cost up to $20,000. The department would also need special gear and a vehicle fitted for a K9 also, making the ultimate price between $60,000 and $70,000.

The new dog would likely be trained for narcotics detection, tracking suspects and article searches.

You can vote for the Conway Police Department at this link every 24 hours until Oct. 26.