Independence officer holds fundraiser for first K-9 officer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence officer holds fundraiser for first K-9 officer

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Independence Police Officer Chris Cass Independence Police Officer Chris Cass

One eastern Iowa city is getting a new tool to fight drug use.

The city council in Independence gave the go-ahead for its police department to get a K-9.

Officer Chris Cass will be the handler for the new police dog. 

"It's a super great feeling knowing that, ever since I was a little guy, this is what I wanted to do, and seven years into law enforcement, I get to do it," Cass said.

Right now, Independence depends on other counties for K-9 support. But Cass says it's time they got their own dog.

"Time is of the essence," he said. "When we need a dog, we need a dog right now -- and we don't always have that 45 minutes to wait for that response time."

And with school coming up, the new K-9 will help officers find drugs on school grounds.

"The canine's going to be very beneficial in the school system by checking the cars in the parking lot, sniffing the lockers in the school system and just trying to keep it out," Cass said.

But the dog's keen sense of smell will help officers find more than just drugs. 

"Tracking in a robbery, if they take off on foot, or a pursuit if somebody runs from you," Cass said. "It's also critical in officer protection too."

Cass is getting ready to head up to Mid-Michigan Kennels, where he will spend five weeks training the new police dog 

No city funds will be spent on the police dog. Instead, Cass is leading a fundraiser.

As of Tuesday, people have donated almost $24,000 toward the new K-9 efforts.

Written by Amanda Gilbert

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