Oskaloosa’s CLOW Valve Company Makes Substantial Gift Towards K9

Mark Willett (middle right) presented checks totaling $20,000.00 to the Oskaloosa Police Department for the K9 program.

Mark Willett (middle right) presented checks totaling $20,000.00 to the Oskaloosa Police Department for the K9 program.

Oskaloosa K9 Nearing End Of Fundraising Stage

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The process of fundraising for a K9 has been just months in length, but already the department has found it’s reached the minimum goal to make the program possible.

The fundraising, which started in July, will continue for a while longer to help secure dollars needed for ongoing expenses.

On Friday afternoon, Mark Willett with Clow Valve Company presented Oskaloosa Police Chief Jake McGee with a $10,000 check to go towards the program. McWane, Clow’s parent company also contributed $10,000, for a total of $20,000.

With the donation, the account now has $55,000 with opens up some options. $40,000 was that magic number needed at the minimum to acquire the dog, pay for training and use an old squad car for the K9.

The program could now be looking at using a new squad car, which will ultimately cut the program costs over the long term. The one car will be able to serve the life of the program, versus several used cars, which require special servicing to put back into operation for a K9.

“I can’t thank you enough,” said McGee to Willett.

“It’s my pleasure it’s a great thing,” added Willett, who found out about the opportunity after a call from McGee.

“It’s extremely important for Clow and McWane, our parent company to be good corporate citizens and support these kinds of things on an ongoing basis. This is extremely important to both Oskaloosa and Mahaska County as a whole. Anytime we have a chance to support something of this nature, we’re going to do that,” added Willett.

McGee said he would like to see upwards of $70,000 come in to help the program with the ongoing expenses. “I feel confident that we’re going to get there.”

“The community has just opened up so much. And it’s not just Oskaloosa, people in the county, people from outside the county have donated,” said McGee.

Oskaloosa News asked McGee why people see the K9 as so important. “I think they realize that it’s an important tool, and I think most people look at it as the drug detection part of a K9,” said McGee in referencing the methamphetamine and opioid epidemics that are impacting the nation, and Oskaloosa and Mahaska County.

The new K9 will be a patrol dog, which means it will work with drug detection, patrol work (apprehension), area search along with article search, which will help to track lost individuals.

Oskaloosa Police Officer Austin Rogers will attend school in the coming spring for six weeks of training, in which he will be introduced to an approximately one-year-old German Shepard that will become a part of the Oskaloosa Police Department and the Mahaska Community.

Rogers said that his desire to become a K9 officer was driven from the examples of those who had done it before. Lieutenant Jon Plum and Lieutenant Gary McClun have both been K9 officers in the past, calling them “very active officers” with “some good time served.”

“Not having a dog for seven years, it was time to utilize it again, and be proactive,” added Rogers.

Rogers is a family man, and he and his wife spent some time talking about bringing a K9 into their home. “It kind of took a little bit of leg pulling on my end, because six weeks is a long time,” said Rogers. The training Rogers will undertake is 6 weeks in length, during which he will be away from his young family.

Rogers will then bring the dog home with him when his shift is completed, effectively adding another member to the household. Rogers says they are “very much so” excited to add that new family member.

“My little one, she’s about 1 ½, and she’s a dog lover,” said Rogers. “Any kind of dog, she loves on.”

“My whole family’s supportive of it,” added Rogers of becoming Oskaloosa’s newest K9 handler.

McClun, who was the last dog handler for the city with his partner Nash, said “it’s a ton of work that goes into making a successful program. Austin came to me when he first had interest. I sat down and told him what to expect.”

Nash worked the streets of Oskaloosa for nearly nine years. After Nash retired he continued to be a member of McClun’s family, and turned into a bit of a couch potato. A reward well deserved after spending so many years serving.

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Posted by on Aug 18 2017. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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