Stadalsky: Minooka police doggedly pursue new ‘officer’
BY KRIS STADALSKY Correspondent October 25, 2013 1:42PM
Webelos Scouts from Troop 461 participate in a ceremonial check presentation for a canine officer at a recent Minooka Village Board meeting. Pictured in the back row are Mayor Pat Brennan, Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland, Police Chief Justin Meyer and Trustee Dick Parrish. | Supplied photo
Updated: November 30, 2013 7:56PM
The Minooka Police Department will have a new “officer” on the force in February, but it’s going to be one with four paws and a snout made for sniffing out drugs, among other things.
Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland recently presented the department with a donation that will allow Minooka police to buy a dog and put both him (or her) and his/her new handler through a six-week basic training program.
The department is also getting free annual preventative health exams and boarding for the soon-to-be canine officer through Mallard Point Veterinary Clinic in Channahon.
The dog will help patrol officers in search warrant executions, tracking fleeing suspects and missing children, crowd control, building searches, public relations and vehicle searches.
One of the dog’s most frequent duties will be searching vehicles for drugs.
Grundy County, because of the Interstate 80 and 55 corridors, is third out of 102 counties in the state when it comes to drug asset seizures. It falls just behind Cook and Will counties. Grundy County has a population of just 50,000.
Helland told the Minooka Village Board that not a month goes by in which they don’t intercept more than 100 pounds of marijuana in the county.
The money donated to the canine program by the state’s attorney, $13,500, comes from the county’s drug asset forfeiture fund. It must be used in enforcing laws governing marijuana and controlled substances.
A local program in this area is very much needed, Helland said.
“It’s definitely a necessary program,” he said.
Minooka Police Chief Justin Meyer is very excited about the new officer. When the possibility first presented itself, Meyer knew the department needed to jump on it.
The dog will receive training in article searches and narcotics detection in five odors, such as marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine.
“It’s a great tool for narcotics detection,” Meyer said.
The dog will also be used for random drug searches at the schools.
Meyer did a lot of research before deciding on a Labrador retriever as the best type of dog for the department. They are nonaggressive and a popular domestic breed.
Meyer will have help choosing the right dog from Illinois State Police Sgt. Eric Helton, the statewide canine coordinator.
They are expecting to select a dog before the next training programs begins in late February.
The new officer, when he arrives, will be living with six-year Minooka Police Department veteran officer Matthew Juras, whose family is very excited about another new addition.
Having a dog is not only an asset to the police force but will be great for public relations and officer job satisfaction.
“It’s a great opportunity for a smaller agency like ours,” Meyer said.
Big apologies: Galloway lives
I have to send out a huge apology to Norval Galloway Jr., former superintendent of N.B. Galloway School in Channahon, whom the school was named for.
In a previous column about Jim More, I referred to Galloway as the “late” Galloway. His son, Norval Galloway III, wrote to say his dad may be tardy sometimes but is not yet the “late” Norval Galloway.
It’s an embarrassing mistake but I have to come clean and make no excuses. My sincerest apology, Mr. Galloway, and thank you for being so gracious.
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