A police K-9 once again will patrol the streets of Oakdale, ending the Police Department’s six-year lapse without a canine program.
The department had to cut the program in 2007 for budget reasons, but a $16,500 donation from Steves Chevrolet Buick in Oakdale has brought it back to life. The money bought the police dog from Slovakia and covered training costs for the dog and officer.
The 13-month old Belgian Malinois-German shepherd mix is named Chevy.
“I told (Oakdale police) I am happy to pay for the dog, but I get naming rights,” said dealership owner Jeff Steves. Chevy was his family’s late cocker spaniel.
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Steves decided to get Chevy for the Oakdale Police Department after a summer ride-along on the graveyard shift. “I wanted to get an idea of what goes on in the city at night, and my eyes were opened wide,” he said.
Most of the calls he responded to with the sergeant with whom he rode were for drug and gang activity. Steves asked the sergeant what the department needed most and was told, “officers.” Steves couldn’t sustain a police officer’s position, but the sergeant told him the next best thing would be a police dog.
Before Chevy, the city had to rely on the Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit.
Sgt. Ben Savage said Chevy trained for several months and is proficient in suspect apprehension and detection. The department also plans to cross-train Chevy in drug searches next year.
Savage said Chevy’s skills likely will be used several times a week. Chevy will hit the streets Monday with his partner, officer Andy Stever, an Oakdale native.