The National Guard has pledged $5,000 toward Hanover Police Department's K-9 project, bringing the department one step closer to purchasing a dog.

Hanover Town Marshal Ron Kroger announced the progress at the Hanover Town Council meeting Tuesday.

Kroger said he and Sgt. Andrew Sims, who would be the K-9 handler, have visited three dogs and are considering a 19-month-old Belgian malinois from a Little Rock kennel.

Kroger said the dog is trained in tracking, narcotics and apprehension, noting that it is disciplined while on duty and "as gentle as a kitten" when off duty.

Kroger said the dog would be about $5,000 less expensive than some at other facilities. An ideal dog would be between 18 months and 2 years old. The department still has other visits planned before it comes to the council with a request, he said.

Different kennels require different levels of training for the officers. At the Little Rock facility, Sims would undergo two weeks of handler training, though some locations require about five to six weeks.

In addition to finding the right dog, the department is working on the K-9 unit vehicle, which will be a Chevy Tahoe. The National Guard pledged $5,000 toward the project last week. Hanover Police Department is the first police department the National Guard has partnered with for a K-9 unit.

"We're their pilot program," Kroger said.

The K-9 unit fund has earned thousands of dollars in pledges, and the department has more than $6,000 in donations. They plan to use some of the money now to modify the vehicle for the dog and for the dog's permanent kennel.

"It's starting to move forward," Kroger said.

In other business:

• The council approved an annual contract with Keystone Software Systems for $5,735. The software is used to support the town's payroll, accounts receivable and budget.

• The council approved a series of summer and temporary positions. Danny Kellems was hired to work at the town's compost site at $9.50 an hour through Nov. 2. Jerry Judge will work at the sewage plant at a rate of $10 an hour through Nov. 28. Nick Wyne was hired as summer help at a rate of $10 an hour.