Police Department has been without a K-9 unit for more than a year, since
Kahr--partnered with former CPD officer Erik Herbert--was retired from
service in February 2017.
other K-9, Igor--partnered with Sgt. Dan Rocha--had been retired a few
months earlier, in October 2016.
Both served around
six years with the CPD and both--despite various health issues--served with
distinction, participating in scores of drug searches and many tracks.
Now a new K-9 unit
is being established, with the purchase of Maverick, a Belgian malinois,
whos being partnered with Officer Erik Palleson.
So Police Chief
Dave Cincoski announced at the Police Commissions meeting last week.
purchased from FMK Kennels in Berrien Center, Mich., at a cost of $5,000,
Cincoski said, and is currently being trained by Sgt. Todd Kobitz of the
Valparaiso Police Department, a master certified trainer.
typically costs $6,000 to $8,000 but Valparaiso Police Chief Jeff Balon
generously offered Kobitzs services to the CPD at no charge, a professional
courtesy for which Cincoski expressed his very profound gratitude.
Unlike Kahr and
Igor, Maverick will receive no aggression training, per a policy adopted by
the Police Commission earlier this year, as aggression training tends to
reduce a K-9 partners useful term of service by as many as two years.
Instead, Maverick will be tasked solely to drug searches and tracking duty,
Member Pete Duda
did wonder why the CPDs new K-9 partner was named after a less than
distinguished model of the Ford Motor Company. Cincoski replied that the dog
was actually named after Tom Cruises character in Top Gun, and that
Palleson has already been nicknamed "Goose" by his fellow officers, after
Cruises wingman, Anthony Edwards.
Member Tim Scheerer
and a Chesterton Tribune reporter at the meeting, on the
contrary--revealing something of a generation gap--had assumed that Maverick
was named after James Garners character in the eponymous TV show from the
In related news,
Cincoski and the commission thanked the Duneland Exchange Club for its $500
donation to the CFD Gift Fund, to be used for the departments K-9 program.
In other business,
Cincoski announced the appointment of a third school resource officer (SRO):
Lt. Joe Christian, who will be based at Westchester Intermediate School but
available as well for duty at Liberty Intermediate and the elementary
schools as well.
Christian joins the
CPDs other two SROs: Sgt. Randy Komicarsik, whos been based at Chesterton
Middle School for the last 17 years; and Sgt. Chris Swickward, whos been
based at Chesterton High School for the last three years.
currently attending SRO school, earning his Safe School Certification. His
assignment is pending the Town Councils amendment of a memorandum of
understanding with the Duneland School Corporation, which reimburses the
town $30,000 per SRO per year.
commission took receipt of a letter from Brummitt Elementary School
Principal Nino Cammarata in high praise of Christians work with students and
staff. "Lt. Christian worked with me to create a school-safety presentation
for our first School Safety Week," Cammarata wrote. "He listened to the
safety concepts specific to being in school I wanted presented. Lt.
Christian discussed topics from bullying to using school equipment/tools
properly. . . . The presentations were meaningful and well executed."
"I received a lot
of positive feedback from parents of Brummitt students about Lt. Christian,"
Cammarata added. "Students have shared with their parents about his visits
and all of the positive messages he conveyed. Our families were incredibly
pleased to see the police presence at Brummitt in a non-threatening manner.
Many families remarked that they hoped Brummitt would continue our wonderful
relationship with Officer Christian. I feel the same way!"