Lake Mills Police Chief Mick Selck told the Lake Mills Leader last week the department has selected its new K9 officer.
Truman, named after the late Capt. Christopher Truman of the Lake Mills Fire Department, is a Dutch Shepard. The one and a half year old male was purchased from FM K9 in Michigan and will be trained to be a police K9 starting Sept. 9. The dog already has basic obedience training and some bite work.
“We met and tested him in early August with three other dogs, and he was our favorite,” Selck said.
Truman’s assigned handler is Lake Mills Police Officer TJ Adams. Truman will be tested continuously for 6 weeks during the training. If for some reason Truman does not pass, FM K9 will provide the department with a different dog at no cost.
“Not all dogs have the bravery, intelligence, demeanor or ability to be a police K9.”
Sgt. Branden Cedarwall will oversee the K9 program. Truman and Officer Adams will be assigned to second shift and should be on the road in the middle of October.
Truman is still in Michigan, but should be in Lake Mills acclimating to his new home and handler for a few days next week before training begins.
Truman will be trained in drug detection, search and rescue and officer protection.
“We are hoping to have a community meet and greet with Truman in early November,” Selck said.
The community stepped forward to provide the funds for the dog raising about $50,000. The cost of the dog and the training is about $13,000.
“We will have to buy a few other training aids,” Selck said. “We haven’t finished all our purchasing for the squad. We do have a car ready to go and the striping and detailing will be done in the next week or so.”
Selck and the members of the Lake Mills Police Department have put in a lot of long hours looking for the right dog.
“When I made that Facebook post tonight I felt a euphoria. There is a lot of work that went into getting this dog and I wanted to do it right. To be able to finalize it, it felt amazing. I’m very proud of the way the community stepped up to help us raise the funds and the way the officers stepped up to do the researching.”
“I’m truly humbled by the support of the community and our law enforcement partners. We exceeded our goal some time ago and donors kept insisting on donating to us.”
The department has brought in $47,700 in donations for the dog and the associated equipment. Those funds include cash, services and purchases on the department’s behalf and more donations are expected.
The biggest expense related to the K9 is the squad car.
“Until the 2020 squad car is set up in January or February, and pledged donations are actually received, we will not know exactly how much money the contingency fund will carry forward,” Selck said.
The dog will have an even deeper meaning for Selck and other members of the community who were close with Capt. Chris Truman.
“Chris was such a close friend of mine and this is going to honor his memory and this is important to Amber (Chris Truman’s fiance). It’s been emotional.”
“This addition to our police force will certainly help to reduce drug trafficking in Lake Mills and potentially save lives.”