Bow-wow: Canine officer joins YSUPD

Officer Mark Mehley and Gino, the latest addition to the YSUPD.

Officer Mark Mehley and Gino, the latest addition to the YSUPD.

Four legs, less than two years old, a native of Holland and a sniffer like you’ve never seen before.

Meet Gino, a Belgian malinois bomb detection dog and the latest crime fighter with the YSU Police Department.

Ohio Homeland Security, a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, donated the explosive detection dog to YSU at a press conference last month. ODPS Director John Born said when DPS came up with the idea to provide such dogs to Ohio’s public universities, YSU was the first to step forward.

“Gino is going to be a working asset for the university and the community as well,” he said.

OHS created the pilot program this year to aid in response to bomb threats at Ohio universities and their surrounding communities. Federal grants cover the purchase, training, veterinarian bills and any necessary equipment.

Gino’s handler is YSU Police Officer Mark Mehley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from YSU and graduated from the YSU Peace Officers Training Academy in 2010.

“This is yet another example of how we can make campus, the city and the region a safer place to live and work,” said John Beshara, YSU police chief.