Volunteers needed for fundraising committee
A highlight in 2012 for the Mounds View Police Department and residents was the addition of the city’s first K-9 unit.
The Mounds View City Council in November 2011 approved a resolution supporting the creation of a K-9 program and accepting a $6,000 grant from the St. Paul Police K-9 Foundation to assist with the cost.
Niko, a male German Shepherd from Eastern Europe, joined Officer Nick Erickson on the force. Erickson, 29, has been a Mounds View officer for about six years.
“It has always been my hope and aspiration to someday be a K-9 officer,” Erickson said of why he chose to apply for the position. “I love doing my job and I love dogs, so I always wanted to work with a K-9 to have a partner and find bad guys.”
Beginning this past March, Erickson and Niko enrolled in a 12-week K-9 academy training program with about 15 other teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Erickson and Niko graduated in May, receiving certification in obedience and criminal apprehension.
Niko lives with Erickson at his home; he has a kennel outside and a dog house that was made by Edgewood Middle School students.
At a Mounds View City Council meeting in June, Police Chief Tom Kinney presented Niko with a ceremonial badge to honor him as the police department’s newest member.
Erickson and Niko provided a demonstration during the Festival in the Park in August.
Before Niko joined the force, the Mounds View Police Department had been bringing in a K-9 unit from another department two to three times a week for a couple months, Kinney said, adding that the need is sporadic, but it had increased recently.
During an August council meeting, Kinney reported that throughout the month of June, Niko was involved in 10 deployments that included searches, tracking, apprehensions and demonstrations.
This November, the Mounds View Festival in the Park Committee donated about $312 to the Officer Niko Fund. Cash donations received during the festival in August totaled about $187, and the committee also presented a check for approximately $124.
A community Tupperware party fundraiser to support the K-9 unit will be 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Mounds View Community Center. Councilmember Carol Mueller said that proceeds from the event will go toward offsetting the cost for the K-9 unit, including Niko’s care, food and training. She said the hope is to raise about $1,000.
To volunteer on the fundraising committee for the K-9 unit, which will plan events for 2013, call Councilmember Mueller at 763-458-2719.