MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Police Department is getting ready to unleash its latest recruit thanks to some generous residents and it comes just months after losing another K9 officer in the line of duty.
At 14 months old, the newest member of the police department is just a puppy. Soon, he'll be a well-oiled crime-fighting machine.
"Right now we're just doing basic obedience," says Minneapolis Police K9 Officer Eric Lukes. "He's just getting into it. He's still a puppy...still doing some puppy things."
The dog's name is Bullet and he's in the middle of ten weeks of intensive training for new police dogs.
Bullet has big paws to fill. Last November officer Lukes lost his K9 partner. He and 'Chase' responded to a burglary call. While searching the roof, Chase heard something, jumped a barrier and fell three stories to his death.
"By the time he jumped it was too late," says Officer Lukes.
Curtis Johnson, who trains, walks and helps people choose dogs, heard Chase's story and felt he had to do something to make sure the police department could fill the empty spot. So Curtis and one of his clients launched an online fundraising campaign.
More than a dozen people donated and came up with more than $5,000 to purchase Bullet.
"You can plan for a dog retiring, but you can't plan for a dog being taken out of service like this so clearly there was a need," says Johnson.
It was a well-timed citizen response in a tight budget. The donations were welcome news to the police chief.
"The K9 can do things that we would have to have a number of officers doing especially for searching on buildings and so forth," says Chief Tim Dolan.
Over the next few weeks Bullet will learn how to be a police officer. He'll be the 18th dog on the K9 team and will graduate from police dog training school at the end of May.
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