by: PHOTO COURTESY: MPD - Milwaukie Police Officer Les Hall poses with a type of SUV that he will use to transport the department's newest canine officer.Milwaukie Police officer Les Hall is trading in his motorcycle for an SUV that he’ll be driving around with the city’s newest police dog.

Hall, a nearly seven-year veteran with the Milwaukie Police Department, thinks he’s gotten a pretty good deal. The yet-to-be-selected dog, largely paid for through the nonprofit Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation, will live with the officer, who's in his mid-40s, at his home in southern Clackamas County.

“I thought it’d be a neat thing,” he said. “I like dogs, and I applied for the last canine position that opened up, too. The physiological aspect of being mauled on the scene could have an effect on bad guys (so they) more frequently respond appropriately to police.”

MPD Chief Bob Jordan noted that a committee recommended Hall; the panel included Sgt. Jon Foreman, who's in charge of MPD's canine program, a community member and two experienced canine handlers from law enforcement in the region. Hall is working with Foreman and Patrol Capt. Steve Bartol to select the dog.

The next step is to identify the right breed and breeder.

“Specifically, we're looking for a patrol dog that will have the training to track human scent, either a burglary suspect or a missing child, and to be a backup to his human handler,” Jordan said. “The ideal canine would be able to quickly transition from an aggressive track for a bad guy in a burglarized home to visiting the local third-grade class and getting his belly rubbed by 8-year-olds.”

Shaka, a drug-sniffing dog, continues to find evidence for MPD. However, Milwaukie’s other police dog, Jag, who was trained to pursue suspects, died of bone cancer in December.

Both the chief and the new canine officer credited community volunteers for the continuing success of the canine program. They stepped up with a “[email protected]$50” fundraising campaign, raising nearly $3,000 in less than a month. Volunteers set a total target of between $15,000 and $20,000, and in just a few weeks after Jag’s euthanasia, managed to raise $13,750, close to the low end of what is needed to purchase and train a new canine officer.

“We’re truly blessed to have the Public Safety Foundation,” Hall said. “My hat goes off to all those folks, and I really can’t say enough about how lucky I feel for them making this happen for me.”

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