ASHLAND — The police department has a new dog.

Police announced today that Chief Scott Rohmer has re-implemented the department's canine program, which ended in 2005 after the dog's handler left the department. The new dog is a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Dax.

Police say the dog, which cost $7,000, was donated to the town by the Ashland Police Association. Police say restarting the canine program doesn't cost anything for Ashland taxpayers: All costs associated with the program were donated by various sources, including the union, members of the department and residents, police said. Officials also said Ashland Animal Hospital has offered to provide vetrinarian services at no cost.

Dax's handler, Officer Chris Alberini, began training this week with the dog. They will become certified and trained in drug detection, tracking missing or lost people and children and crime suspects. The team will also focus on building searches and handler protection.

Rohmer said in a statement that Dax will provide a "valuable tool" in the department's arsenal for combating drugs and crime.

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