In his first month with the Eastlake Police Department, K-9 Officer Axel has received various donations and support from the local community and Cleveland Police, including a new ballistic vest.
On Dec. 5, Eastlake police treated Longfellow Elementary students to a pizza party for their help in giving the 17-month-old K-9 officer his name. Chief Larry Reik and Mayor Dennis Morley presented the cheesy prize as students watched Axel show off his moves, roughhousing with his partner, Officer Mike Ward.
Axel’s naming process had begun with a food drive between Longfellow and Edison elementary schools. The top two donating classes were able to submit names for the dog and Eastlake police picked a name from the list.
“Now we’re having a pizza party for the kids that did all the hard work,” Ward said, “The community gave us so much, so it was a way to give back to the community a little bit.”
While Axel waited in the school hallway as students passed by, he was patiently observant, sporting his new vest. It wasn’t until officer Ward brought out the ball that the K-9 was able to play around and burn off some energy.
Ward mentioned that since Axel officially started with the Eastlake Police Department on Nov. 9, the overall community has responded with support.
“People drop stop off at the station for him,” Ward said. “Treats and toys and all kinds of stuff. So people are just walking in, wanting to donate.”
He also added that the bulletproof vest is a welcome security tool. It’s also designed to be a harness and work as a tracking and patrol device.
“It’s going to help protect him,” the officer said. “Hopefully he doesn’t need to use it, but if he does, it keeps him around longer.”
The brand new vest was donated thanks to Cleveland Police Sgt. Brian Allan, officer-in-charge of K-9s. Allan grew up in Mentor and had worked for the Willoughby Police Department before joining the Cleveland police. He mentioned that family and friends in the area had notified him of the Eastlake Police Department’s need for getting their K-9 unit up and running.
“When I found out about this I contacted The Cleveland Police Foundation for help,” Allan said. “They are always looking for ways to assist officers in any way they can. It is an excellent organization that our K-9 Unit works with frequently.”
According to Allan, all Cleveland police K-9s have the same vest that was donated to Axel.
“We have never worked with Eastlake Police on a specific project like this before, to my knowledge,” Allan said. But he also added, “Both of our departments have always had an excellent law enforcement partnership. It is my belief that our K-9 units will also now share in that partnership and will continue to work together in the future.”