Mill Creek Police Officer Ian Durkee has finally begun his K-9 training, but with a two-year-old German Shepard named Rasko instead of his previous dog Axel, according to Chief Bob Crannell.
At the September 24th Mill Creek City Council meeting Crannell reported that Durkee and Rasko started K-9 certification training on September 9, 2013, in conjunction with Federal Way’s K-9 teams at no cost to Mill Creek.
According to Crannell, Axel had some issues in keeping his head down while tracking during pre-certification testing and was replaced with Rasko at Mill Creek’s request. Since the breeder guarantees that her dogs meet all certification criteria, the switch was free.
Crannell said he made Axel’s replacement decision to ensure Mill Creek’s K9 team was as good as it could be, “We made a business decision that we didn’t want the program to be C+, or take a shot that we didn’t have the best K-9 team we could.”
Crannell said that Durkee’s and Rasko’s training is going well so far, “All reports at week three is that everything is going well and they continue to progress.”
Mill Creek’s new K-9 team should finish training in November. Crannell said, “We are planning to have Rasko on the street before Thanksgiving.”
This is the second K-9 training course Durkeee has begun this year. He and police dog Mongo started K-9 training in January, but while Durkee got rave reveiws from the instructor Mongo proved to be unsuitable.
At this point Roy Catz, owner of Catz Exotics, stepped up to donate $10,000 to cover the entire cost of a new police dog and Axel was purchased.
At the December 4, 2012 City Council meeting Catz said he served as a K-9 police officer from 1979 to 1990 and wanted to give back to the City.
Officer Durkee was the 2012 Mill Creek Police Department Officer of the Year and has served as a Patrol Office, an Acting Detective, and an Acting Sargent.
During the October 9, 2013, City Council meeting Mill Creek Police Chief Bob Crannell said that although adding a police dog to his department had come up over the past few years it hadn’t been justified until this year. He said that the need for a K-9 unit had increased to 62 calls from August 2011 to October 2012.
According to Crannell, Mill Creek depends on K-9 unit responses from the neighboring Cities of Everett, Lynnwood, Bothell, Edmonds, and Mountlake Terrace as well as the Snohomish County Sherriff’s department to handle these calls. He said there is often a response time delay and sometimes a K-9 unit was simply not available.
At the October 9th City Council meeting Crannell said police dogs provide a safer working environment for both police officers and the public. He went on to say the Mill Creek K-9 unit would initially be trained for tracking, but not drug detection.