South Whitley Police introduce department’s first K9

Local News

SOUTH WHITLEY, Ind. (WANE) – South Whitley police are introducing a 4-legged friend to their department.

Jake, a poodle, met students at South Whitley Elementary Monday morning for the first of many visits around Whitko Community Schools. Officer Tim Clark, Jake’s trainer, says Jake passed his first test when interacting in front of younger children Monday morning.

“We have a lot to build on,” Officer Clark said. “It’s still an adjustment phase for him overall, but he did really good.”

He will serve alongside Tim Clark, the school district’s resource officer, mainly as an emotional support dog.

The process to get the department’s first canine started in February 2020, but stalled when the pandemic hit. Through grants and fundraising efforts around the community, the department has raised $45,000 of its $65,000 goal. Clark was stunned when he learned nearly $10,000 of that came from a coin drive fundraiser organized by Whitko students.

“It was amazing,” Officer Clark said. “I had never seen such an excitement from the kids last week when they were bringing in money. It was a sight to be seen.”

Jake still has much more learning to do before becoming a full-service canine for the department. This summer, Officer Clark will train Jake to detect odors for safety purposes and in the event a student needs to be tracked.

In the meantime, Clark and South Whitley police have launched a GoFundMe to reach their $65,000 fundraising goal. Funds would go towards their new K9, including a new vehicle that is capable of transporting Jake around the community.

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