Suffolk PD to get new dog, other tools

Published 9:53 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

A new drug dog and other law enforcement equipment are in the works for the Suffolk Police Department after the department received an $80,320 grant from the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

The money came from the state’s $115 million portion of a $1.5 billion Medicaid fraud settlement from Abbott Labs, which illegally marketed its drug Depakote for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a news release from Cuccinelli’s office.

The department earned the money on top of restitution to the state’s Medicaid coffers for taking the lead on the investigation of the case.


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Eventually, $105 million of the state’s share will be disbursed to state and local law enforcement agencies, the release states, with $10 million staying in the attorney general’s office for equipment and programs.

Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said the new drug dog will be one of the department’s purchases.

“We’re replacing a drug dog that had to retire due to his age and medical condition,” Bennett said.

The department also will buy lidar units — used for detecting speed — and Tasers, both as replacements and in addition to the ones the department currently has.

Also as part of the grant, the department will stock two SUVs used by patrol supervisors with multiple pieces of equipment that are either too large or too expensive to put one in every patrol car.

“They will have everything they need out in the field so they won’t have to run here and there to get specialized pieces of equipment,” Bennett said.

The equipment includes such things as ballistic shields, prying tools, a ram to break down doors, a flare system, a tactical ladder — “for if we need to get up on a roof real quick and can’t wait for the fire department,” Bennett said — and more.

The Abbott Labs settlement was the second-largest Medicaid fraud settlement in U.S. history, according to the attorney general’s office.