Park Rapids Police Department Reaches Goal For K9 Unit
The Park Rapids Police Department spent most of 2017 raising money for a K9 unit, and that goal was finally reached last month thanks in large part to the community.
“We talked about several options, but we settled on a police K9 unit,” says Park Rapids Chief of Police Jeff Appel.
The Park Rapids City Council unanimously approved to reinstate the K9 unit last month after the money had been raised.
Appel says, “The next day, we started purchasing equipment and we were able to enroll in the police K9 handler academy, which starts March 5th.”
The K9 officer was selected through an internal process. After K9 academy, the handler and the new dog will go through narcotics training. The price to get everything started was $70,000.
“It was to cover all startup costs so that would include a new squad car, all the equipment for the squad car, the training, the purchase of the dog,” says Appel.
Talks about reinstating the Park Rapids K9 unit started in late 2016. The dream became a reality thanks to local businesses like the ones in downtown Park Rapids that helped raise the money.
“Across the whole community there was support. The local American Legion had a meatball dinner to help. Local businesses donated money. Citizens mailed in money. They had a mailing campaign also to help support the program,” says Appel.
Appel says the money is a small price to pay for all the good the K9 will bring to Park Rapids. Appel is a former K9 officer himself and says the dog will help protect police as well as do other tasks.
“One of the main goals is to help with narcotics and addiction in town as a drug dog. It will be a dual-purpose dog so it can help across the board with criminal apprehension or tracking lost individuals,” says Appel.
Overall, it’s an exciting time for the Park Rapids PD.
Appel says, “The dogs can perform a wide array of tasks, and we’re excited to have that on board.”
The K9 unit is expected to be fully up and running in July.