Milwaukie donations lead to new K-9 'Jago'

Milwaukie donations lead to new K-9 'Jago'

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by Katherine Cook, KGW Reporter

kgw.com

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 5:55 AM

MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- The Milwaukie Police Department is putting its newest police officer through his paces. And sniffs. And bites.

Officer "Jago" may be a K-9, but like just about all rookie cops, he's trying to prove himself.

Jago’s partner is Milwaukie Police Officer Les Hall. During a training exercise Tuesday, Hall bent down and whispered to the dog, "Ready to find a bad guy?" Before letting Jago run towards a volunteer.

With a month's training under his collar, Jago has mastered tracking and is working hard on suspect apprehension. Hall is also mastering his arsenal of German commands for his German Shepherd.

"It's a tremendous amount of work, but it's worth it," said Hall. "Just having a dog at the scene puts a thought in people's minds like, 'Maybe I don't want to run because that dog can catch me!'"

Jago replaced the Milwaukie Police Department’s long-time K-9, Jag. In December, the department lost Jag to bone cancer.

Jag not only left a hole in the community's heart but a gap in the police department's budget. The department didn't have the $15,000 needed to buy and train a new K-9, so the people of Milwaukie dug deep into their own pockets.

"We even had a $1,000 donation from an anonymous source, who'd lost their dog to cancer," said Don Wiley, co-chair of the Milwaukie Safety Foundation.

The foundation helped the community raise money for Jago, one nickel at a time.

A local Girl Scout troop even collected 2,000 bottles and cans to pull in $100.

Jago recently stopped by to tell the troop "thank-you" in his own special way.

"[Jago] can roll over on his back and let little kids pet him," said Wiley. "At the same time, he hits like a sack of potatoes! He has both abilities and that's what we really need in this community."

Jago has two more weeks of training with a Portland Police Bureau K-9 unit before he and Officer Hall hit the streets.

But when their work day ends, the pair doesn’t say good-bye. Jago also lives with Hall.

"It's 24-7,” said Hall. "Basically, almost like another kid in the family."

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