Eastlake Police Department’s new officer is a little different than the rest of the officers in the department. This one is furry, walks on four legs and barks.
The department officially welcomed new K-9 officer Axel immediately following the completion of his training on Nov. 9.
Eastlake officer Mike Ward has spent the past six weeks in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, extensively training with the new K-9.
The city has been without a K-9 since 2013 when K-9 Ekko was retired.
The department’s budget and the cost obtaining a qualified dog and the time and money required for training made it difficult for the department to get another K-9.
Ward said he has been interested in being a K-9 handler since he started as an officer in 2003 and got permission from Police Chief Larry Reik to apply for grants to help purchase the dog.
n outpouring of support from the community along with the grants made it possible for the department to obtain Axel, outfit a car for him, pay for training and purchase supplies for him.
Eastlake residents offered to hold fundraisers, and contribute supplies to help defray the cost. Civic groups such as The Gray Riders and Brothers of Descent also helped with fundraising efforts.
“Its amazing. When he (Reik) gave me the OK to put a K-9 proposal together and I started getting quotes for everything, I found out it was $55,000 to start from scratch to get a car and outfit it and the dog and school all the essential needs for the dog,” Ward said. “I thought, ‘man its going to take a while,’ but once we started fundraising, it started flowing in from everywhere in the city and outside the city.”