The Mason Police Department in Michigan is working towards starting their first K9 Unit. With the help of volunteers, donations, and a rescued German Shepherd, a four-legged officer could hit the streets in 2021 to protect and serve the community and citizens of Mason.
In September 2020, the Ingham County Animal Control transferred eight rescued German Shepherd dogs from St. Clair County Animal Control. They were among eighty dogs that were seized from a neglect/hoarding situation.
One dog has the potential to be a working K9, which the Mason Police Department (MPD) has been considering for years.
Ingham County Animal Control contacted a retired K9 handler to work with the dogs, many of whom were scared and under socialized. But one dog stood out with tremendous ball drive and a high desire to please.
That dog has been named Tamarack for now. Tamarack is a female German Shepherd who is bi-colored and weighs-in at about 55 pounds. Her exact date of birth is unknown.
Tamarack has successfully been through behavioral and medical screening to determine she appears to have what it takes to become a dual-purpose K9 officer.
About 30-40 calls a year occur in Mason, where a K9 team could assist in bomb threats, missing children/seniors, security checks, and tracking situations.
The Mason city council believes a K9 officer would be a valuable asset to citizens, help build better relationships between the police and community members, and be a retention and recruitment tool.
However, money to fund a K9 Unit is not in the budget.
For the program to be successful, a police SUV would need to be fitted as a dual-purpose K9 and general patrol vehicle, still capable of transporting a person in police custody. No additional staff would be added to the police department, but the program’s start-up is estimated at $20,000.
The Mason City Council will only authorize Tamarack’s adoption, training, and equipment if funds are raised to cover the start-up.
A local veterinarian has agreed to provide routine care at no cost to the city, and the Rotary Club of Mason is fundraising so Tamarack can get a chance to become Mason Police Department’s first K9 officer.
Tamarack’s employment isn’t official yet, but Mason Police Department Police Chief, Don Hanson, has fingers crossed that Tamarack and a handler could be enrolled in training as soon as Spring of 2021.
For more information on fundraising efforts or if you are interested in donating, email the Mason Rotary Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.