MPD welcomes Yago, canine-cop trainee
With coffee, pastries and several doggie eye exams at a regional public-safety gathering, Milwaukie police last week celebrated the arrival of their newest canine partner, a 3-year-old German Shepherd named Yago.
Officer Les Hall found an immediate connection with the newest MPD recruit. Yago has fit in quite well at Halls home in southern Clackamas County where he already has two other dogs. Although he could bite training suspects with the rest of them, Yago was by far the friendliest of the German Shepherds available, making him the obvious choice for a department that likes to bring its dogs to community events and elementary school classrooms.
Yago, who only arrived in this country from Germany on March 13, came with the name Jerry. Yago is a Spanish name derived from Hebrew and means he who supplants, but Hall couldnt remember any conscious association when he thought of a new name.
I was walking around my house on Sunday, and the name Yago just came to me, so I walked out to him, and it really seemed to fit, Hall said, as Yago showed hes already responding to his new name by perking up at the mention of it.
On May 24, Hall and Capt. Steve Bartol went to Von Grunheide Shepherds, a kennel in Snohomish, Wash., run by Suzanne Eviston, an area canine-handling police officer who specializes in German Shepherds from European bloodlines. Eviston also sold another dog to the Milwaukie Police Department. That dog, Jag, also a German Shepherd, was euthanized in December after being diagnosed with inoperable bone cancer.
Through the nonprofit Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation, led by City Councilor Dave Hedges, an emergency fund-raising campaign tapped into citizen support and raised nearly $15,000 in just a few months. MPD Chief Bob Jordan and City Manager Bill Monahan credited the hard work of citizen volunteers in realizing Yagos purchase and training costs so quickly.
The purchase of the canine is possible because of the outstanding and generous support of the foundation and community, Monahan said. Thanks to Dave Hedges for all the hard work he put in.
Dr. Paul Scherlie from VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas donated his time last Wednesday to check the eyes of public-safety dogs from around the region as officers chatted about their shared experiences with canine partners. In checking the dogs for glaucoma and other common ailments, Scherlie argued that the dogs good eyesight was as important as their sense of smell in helping officers.
Yago had to be isolated after he became excited to see so many dogs in one place. In attendance were Milwaukie Officer Billy Wells drug-sniffing American Staffordshire terrier Shaka, Portland Police dogs/officers, and Portland Fire and Rescue Lt. Fabian Jacksons arson-detecting Labrador retriever Lila.
With eight to 10 weeks of formal classes scheduled to start in September, Hall acknowledged that Yago, who already has a certification in advanced tracking, still has some training to do before he can chase down suspects. But on Yagos renaming day, Hall and Yago, while patrolling Milwaukie Marketplace, pulled over a vehicle that had been reported as stolen.
As Yago barked in the police SUV, Hall described the suspects as compliant throughout the whole process. According to Hall, suspects are less likely to try to run when theres a police dog in their midst.
Buy $1 raffle tickets to support the future sustainability of the
Milwaukie Police K-9 Unit by contacting Kathy Lyle, 503-432-6591.
Dozens of donated prizes include items from local businesses and a ride with Yago during Officer Halls shift. The drawing will be held on July 27 immediately after completion of the last leg of the 9-K for K-9 Walk at Milwaukie Marketplace.
To preregister for $25, or to sponsor someone else to walk, visit milwaukiepsf.org, where more information is available about the event.
Add a comment