Falco joins the force: K9 officer now working for North Liberty - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Falco joins the force: K9 officer now working for North Liberty Police

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NORTH LIBERTY (KWWL) -

The streets of one Iowa town are now a little bit safer thanks to its new four-legged officer, but it's the police department who is also saying "thank you."

In the fall of 2016, North Liberty Police Department started it's efforts to get its first K9 officer, but first it needed to raise $75,000. The community of North Liberty answered the call.

Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty was a major driving force behind the fundraising. Last year, it's corn maze was K9 themed and a portion of proceeds were donated to the department.

"It was a huge support from the community. People were just coming in and making donations to the police department," North Liberty Police Officer, Benjamin Campbell, said.

Campbell is in his third year with NLPD. He's also the departments first K-9 handler. 

Falco, NLPD's first K-9, has officially reported to duty alongside Officer Campbell. Like many rookies, Falco brings a lot of energy to the force. He also provides Campbell with a better sense of security.

"He's going to protect me with everything he has. He's there to make sure I stay safe and that's a really reassuring thing to have." Campbell said.

According to Campbell, much of the funds were needed to get a new K-9 accessible police car for the department. The new squad car allows Campbell to deploy Falco from the back seat with a click of the button. 

It's not only about safety, Falco is also a skilled tracker.

"That doesn't necessarily mean that he tracks for a bad guy all the time. He will track for a missing child. He will track for missing artifacts," Campbell said. He said that if someone were to lose a wallet and could pinpoint a general area that it may be in, Falco can find it for him. 

In his first month on the job, Falco has already done two tracks and several vehicle sniffs for narcotics. Campbell said part of his job is to get drugs off of the streets, a problem he said isn't so much in North Liberty but more so with people passing through from the two close interstate systems.

Funds raised also went to train Falco and Campbell. Now, on the job, Falco is ready to repay that support to the community.

"I think we have a luxury here working here. Our citizens are great to us," Campbell said. "It's nice to know that when you come to work you generally have the support of everyone." 

A K-9 wasn't in the budget for NLPD. Currently the department funds are being used towards a much needed upgrade for a new police station. The department has outgrown it's current building, which was an old doctor's office. They hope to be inside the new station sometime in 2019.

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