Chesterton Tribune



CPD to field new K9 partner, 'Maverick'

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The Chesterton 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.

The departments 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.

Maverick was 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.

Such training 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, Cincoski said.

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 50s.

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.

Christian is 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.

Meanwhile, the 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!"


Posted 6/18/2018




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