The Porter Police Department has a police dog, and now the town Fire
Department wants to add a four-legged firefighter that would specialize in
tracking and search/recovery.
Assistant Porter fire chief Jay Craig made the request of the Town Council.
Its members voted 5-0 Tuesday to have the town attorney research the matter
and, if feasible, present a draft memorandum of understanding at the Feb. 14
Craig said he’s undergone special training on his own time with his personal
German Shepherd that’s been tested on scores of trackings and searches.
If the council approves, Craig would like to donate his dog’s services and
attend additional training sessions through the Department of Homeland
Security, especially for search/recovery following natural disasters and
building collapse. The dog also would prove valuable for water searches.
“With our town growing, the (hike/bike) trails we’re adding, our town is
being more visited,” Craig told the council.
He said he’s spent about $1,000 on his own equipment so additional costs
likely would be for fuel to attend training; the town’s insurance would
cover the fire-dog service if Craig and the town have a MOU, he advised.
While a police dog is trained to apprehend a suspect, explained Craig,
search dogs alert when a person is found."The last thing you want is for a
dog to go into apprehension mode looking for a four-year-old.”
Council members Bill Cantrell and Jeannine Virtue supported the request.
Cantrell said he favors providing public safety for Porter citizens. Barring
any problems, “I’d love to see this happen,” added Virtue.
In a related matter, Craig said the Fire Department is hoping to buy a
bullet/stab-proof safety vest for the Porter Police Department’s dog. About
$750 is needed and money can be donated to the Fire Department or directly
to the non-profit agency arranging the discounted purchase.
Fire chief Lewis Craig reminded landlords that forms certifying operable
smoke detectors are in place must be submitted directly to his office by
The council voted unanimously to accept the lone bid to reline downtown
sanitary sewers and added $1 to extend the warranty period to five years.
Performance Pipelining Inc. of Ottawa, Ill., submitted a base bid of
$2,307,234 and divided the work into sections in case some would need to be
deleted later. However, town director of engineering Matt Keiser said the
project estimate was for $2.8 million as part of a $5.1 million bond issue
for a major upgrade of sewer infrastrucutre.
Included in the bond issue is a new Porter Avenue lift station west of the
The council voted 5-0 Tuesday to initiate steps to obtain an easement for a
smaller parcel on which to locate the lift station rather than outright
purchase of 4 acres the previous Town Council approved Dec. 13. At that time
starting a town yard-waste recycling site there and creating public access
to the Little Calumet River were proposed for the larger site as well as the
Now, engineers Haas & Associates will develop a revised legal description
for town attorney Gregg Sobkowski to obtain a new appraisal for the smaller
parcel and negotiate easement rights.
Council president Greg Stinson said the town will save money by choosing an
easement and will avoid potential problems with the larger site that might
require environmental studies.
Sobkowski was asked to determine whether meetings of a new working group
appointed Tuesday must be open to the public.
Stinson said longstanding Waverly Road drainage issues have stalled plans
for the Orchard Pedestrian Way hike-bike trail along that route. A portion
of the trail and infrastructure for the drainage upgrades would go through
Member Rob Pomeroy will represent the Town Council on the working group;
members Rondi Wightman and Patty Raffin the Park Board; and members Al
Raffin and Jeanine Virtue the Redevelopment Commission, which is paying for
the trail. Virtue is also a Town Council member. No quorum of any board is
Resident Jennifer Klug asked if the new group’s meetings would be open to
the public. Stinson said no, but if the law requires it they will comply.
Any decisions will be discussed and made at a public meeting, he noted.
The new Town Council took office Jan. 1. Meetings of two previously
appointed Porter study groups --- for the Porter Beach Overlay and the Sewer
Needs Assessment --- were open to the public.