Published Date Written by Craig LyonsWhen the Portland Police Department got a call from the Rotary Club saying that the organization wanted to make a donation for a new K-9 officer, Chief Michael Sauschuck said it was a pleasant surprise.
"It was like Christmas to our K-9 officers," he said.
The Portland Rotary Club presented the $6,600 donation to Sauschuck, Officer Zack Finley and canine Mako during ithe club's meeting on Friday. The group's donation allowed the Portland Police Department to purchase Make and make him the newest addition to the K-9 unit.
"It was an incredible phone call to get," Sauschuck said.
Finley said Mako is 15 months old and was born in Slovakia. He said the dog came to Portland from a vendor in Connecticut.
"He is the best dog," he said.
Finley said he's grateful for the Rotary Club's donation because it will go right back into the community through the K-9 unit's work.
Mako's primary function on the K-9 unit will be finding lost subjects or suspects, and tracking.
Finley said there are two phases of Mako's training and certification.
The first level is for patrol functions, Finley said, and that deals with tracking lost people, suspect apprehension and article searches. He said after Mako receives that certification, he can start training for the narcotics division certification.
Finley and Mako will join the city's five other teams in the K-9 Unit. Three of the dogs handle explosive devices and are funded through the Transportation Security Administration. The two other dog perform patrol functions.
Cyrus Hagge, president of the Portland Rotary Club, said the club fund-raises for different projects each year. He said members generally look for projects that will be able to get done within a year so they match the club's calendar.
"Funding a K-9, that worked perfect," he said.
Hagge said the club approached the chief about raising money for a new K-9 officer. He said the initial proposal was to cover half the cost, though the membership wanted to cover the full $6,600.
Sauschuck said resources are tight everywhere and it's remarkable for a group like the Rotary Club to step up to help the police department.
Any time the community or an organization steps forward to help, Sauschuck, said it's very much appreciated.
"That's tough to beat," he said, and it's a hallmark of a great community.