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.

Read or Share this story: