SUGAR NOTCH ‚?? An alleged drunken driver tried to hide after crashing into two parked vehicles recently on Main Street.
Only he did not know Mason was in seek mode.
Police Chief Chris Pelchar Sr. was handling the department‚??s newest member the night of Dec. 11, tracking the fleeing driver to a rear porch on Main Street where he was found hiding.
If blood tests show the man‚??s alcohol level was above .08 percent, it will be the third time the man will face drunken-driving charges since 2000, according to court records.
Mason, a German shepherd from Czechoslovakia, joined the police force in mid-November after becoming qualified in drug detection and tracking, Pelchar said.
Mason is the first police canine in the 145-year history of the tiny borough nestled between Hanover Township and Warrior Run. The dog was trained by Paul Price at K9 Corner in Hunlock Township.
The search for the drunken driver was the fourth time Mason was put into action since joining the force, Pelchar said.
‚??We used him to search an abandoned building for a burglary in progress and used him to track a person in the woods,‚?Ě Pelchar said. ‚??We also used him on a burglar alarm at a house and then the DUI crash where the driver ran.‚?Ě
Pelchar used his own money to purchase Mason in July. Donations from businesses in Sugar Notch and Hanover Township helped fund training and upkeep costs.
Pelchar said Hanover Township Police Chief Al Walker provided a canine cage that was custom fitted into the department‚??s SUV by Craft Metal in Sugar Notch.
No tax dollars have been used to fund Mason, Pelchar said.
He said he has trained Mason with Wilkes-Barre police canine officer Al Rodriguez, who he said provided valuable advice.
‚??I always believed the best deterrent to crime is a dog,‚?Ě Pelchar said.
He said Mason needs to be trained 16 hours per month to stay qualified as a police canine.