The Mill Creek City Council approved Mill Creek’s 2013-2014 budget at the December 4th City Council meeting. Included in this budget are the necessary funds to implement Mill Creek’s new K-9 unit.
During the October 9th City Council meeting Mill Creek Police Chief Bob Crannell said that although adding a police dog to his department has come up over the past few years it hasn’t been justified until now. Chief Crannell said that the need for a K-9 unit has increased to 62 calls in the last 14 months.
Mill Creek depended 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. There was often a response time delay and sometimes a K-9 unit was simply not available.
Police dogs provide a safer working environment for both Police Officers and the public. The Mill Creek K-9 unit will be trained for tracking and drug detection.
As part of the Mill Creek Police Department’s 2013-2014 budget Chief Crannell included training funds for both Police Officer Ian Durkee and the new Police Dog Mongo. Mongo and his initial training have been provided essentially for free.
Officer Durkee was recently named the 2012 Mill Creek Police Department Officer of the Year and has served as a Patrol Office, both an Acting Detective and an Acting Sargent. He is currently a Field Training Officer and is assigned as Mill Creek’s Public Information Officer.
According to Officer Durkee the K-9 unit’s training will probably begin in January at one of two local training facilities, “We have not made a final decision on what agency we will be receiving training from. Ultimately, the Washington Administrative Code requires 400 hours of training for a K-9 team before they can work as a patrol or ‘generalist’ team. Then, industry standard for agencies with K-9s in Washington is to become members of the Washington State Police Canine Association (WSPCA). Almost every state has a canine association, and the benefit of being a member is continuing / advanced training and seminars for K-9 teams. The final step after the initial 400 hours of training will be an initial certification through the WSPCA. Yearly K-9 team certifications through the WSPCA will be required by our department policy.”
The City of Mill Creek is considering the use of private donations to help fund the K-9 program. At the December 4th City Council meeting two Mill Creek residents offered financial support as follows:
- Roy Cats offered to contribute financially to Mill Creek’s K-9 program, “If this project does go off I would like to be the first person to start a donation for this program at $1,500 per year.” Cats lives in River Crossing and owns CATS EXOTICS, a local automobile dealership. He said he served as a K-9 police officer from 1979 to 1990.
- Charlie Gibbons, the founder of the Mill Creek Business Association offered to help direct funds to the K-9 program, “It is very, very important to us that we do the right thing as business people, and as leaders in the community we have to put our right foot forward to show the taxpayers that we are behind everything the City does.” Gibbons said that the Mill Creek Business Association has $25,000 and is looking for programs to fund.