An anonymous donation of $15,000 and matching funds from a Peoria Tribe donation will train and add a K9 Officer and Handler to the Miami Police Department.

MIAMI – A generous surprise donation provided anonymously and a matching contribution from the Peoria Tribe will be used to add a K9 Unit to the Miami Police Department.

Miami Chief of Police Thomas Anderson announced plans at Miami City Council's last regular meeting to use the $30,000 to begin a K9 program for the department with council approval.

Using funds from a July 2016 anonymous donation of $15,000 and matching funds from a Peoria Tribe donation the department will train and add a K9 Officer and Handler.

“At that time we made it clear that the money wasn’t going to supplant anything we had in the budget for the Miami Police Department,” Miami City Manager Dean Kruithof said.

“We held out for a little bit to make sure we used this the best way we could for the city,” Anderson said. “We had several suggestions, several ideas, and several officers came to me with the K9 option... I do think it’s the best use of the funds.”

Anderson credited MPD Officer Jacob Hamblett for his persistence, research and work on putting together a proposal for the K9 program.

A Memorandum of Understanding incorporating Article 33-K9 Handler Program was approved as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2018, with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 121. The K9 Officer was also added to the City of Miami employee Full-Time Equivalent to allow for the addition, bringing the total of FTE’s to 197. By Oklahoma State law the K9 is an officer of the law and afforded all legal respects, and repercussions if harmed or killed.

“I think there were a lot of very good ideas, and I want to compliment Chief Anderson because he talked to the rank and file and really came up with the idea that the Miami Police Department needs a K9,” Kruithof said. “I hope that whoever donated kind of keeps up with this and watches us in the media because we don’t know who it is. We want them to know that if it wasn’t for this donation, we wouldn’t be talking about bringing a K9 Officer on board for the City of Miami, and we’re very grateful for that.”

Anderson echoed the appreciation of the donations and opportunity afforded by the generosity shown.

Now approved by council the funding will be used to obtain a K9 Officer and training for both the dog and handler as well as for the care and equipment needed. The K9 Handler will receive $1.50 more per hour.

“A K9 will probably be in service for about 10 years,” Kruithof said. “It’s a lifetime bond between the K9 and the Handler.”

Stressing the lengthy responsibility and commitment of the K9 Handler, Anderson said the position will now be opened for application internally among the Miami officers for a final selection by an interview board of experienced area K9 handlers.

“Who better to do the interview than guys who do that for a living and have dogs at home,” he said. “Just so whoever we have apply is fully aware of what they’re getting into because that dog is going to live with them. It’s a full-time commitment.”

The K9 and Handler will be training in Joplin with Patriot K9 for six weeks, and then undergo state certification testing before being placed into service. Anderson said he believes the process will take at least three months to complete.

“It will be a patrol animal, primarily a drug dog. We’ll be able to use the dog for interdiction or any patrol functions throughout the department,” Anderson said. “It’s something that’s desperately needed in the area.

Currently, the only working K9 Officers in the area are the Quapaw Tribal Marshals and BIA dogs, according to Anderson. This poses challenges with jurisdictional issues and being able to use the K9s in a timely manner.

“It’s kind of hard to get dogs in the area when we need. It’s limited and hard to get,” he said. “This region of the country is known for narcotics and meth, and we’re trying to do everything we can to help combat that in Miami, and I think this is a great step to help our citizens and our community.”

Councilman Brian Forrester asked if the K9 would be used in schools. Anderson replied the dog could be used if requested by schools and businesses to detect drugs and narcotics.

“We will be able to do this, and it’s a great function for the citizens and the community,” he said.

“Every community I’ve served in that’s had a K9, that’s the most loved officer in town. Sorry guys.” Kruithof said to the officers at the meeting.

Kruithof, Anderson and Mayor Rudy Schultz thanked the members of the FOP and all involved in the program’s planning process.

“It’s really going to be a great addition I think,” Schultz said.

Generosity

The MPD K9 Unit was made possible through two donations.

After one of the darkest mornings for law enforcement, just hours after the 2016 Dallas murders of 10 police officers, the Miami Police Department received the anonymous donation.

Anderson was sitting in his office when he was summoned to the entrance to the Miami Police Department and given a card.

The card read, “To all officers and entire staff of Miami Police Department. Please know you are all very much appreciated for your fine work and dedication. I'm sure there are needs/wants for your department. Use the gift in the way you see fit. Again- thanks so very much for all of you.”

The card was signed simply, “A grateful Miami resident.”

And if that were not enough, two cashiers checks for $5,000 each for donations to the Police Department were also inside the card.

Miami City Manager Dean Kruithof immediately insisted the money be used for something outside the scope of the department's budgeted items.

Shortly after, a third check for $5,000 came in as a donation to the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.

Once again the Miami Police Department was surprised and elated with a matching and additional contribution of $15,000 from the Peoria Tribe Of Oklahoma.

Peoria Chief John Froman spoke about the Tribe's donation and appreciation for the Miami Police Department regarding the sizeable donation.

“The Miami Police Department and the entire City has worked with our Tribe in various ways, and we are very appreciative of that,” Froman said. “Our elected officials, we spoke about it, and when members of our community step up, and they want to support law enforcement in our area, we just feel obligated as members of the community to step up and assist. You know, it's one of those situations they have provided us a huge amount of support, the law enforcement, and the City, and we as members of this community felt this was one of the best causes we could support. The Tribe wanted to be part of that.”

Froman went on to say the cooperative efforts of the Tribe, City and community members are a benefit to all.

“Every law enforcement officer that I've had contact with whether it be on a personal or professional basis has been great upstanding citizens. They are protecting our community, and we want to make sure they have the resources available to them through these donations so they can better serve our community,” he said.