NEW ULM The New Ulm Police Department has cancelled its plan to cut its K9 unit over ongoing budget constraints.
NUPD must find $30,000 in budget cuts for the 2013 City budget, Cutting the K9 dog, Juneau, was considered as one of the possibilities. The proposal would have saved the department around one-third of the money that needs to be cut, including $6,500 in adapting a new patrol car to meet the dog's needs.
NUPD Chief Myron Wieland said the strong response in favor of retaining the dog, including support from the City Council, made the department decide to keep the K9 unit. He said the department will instead simply aim for generalized cost reductions to meet the necessary cuts. Wieland has been told there will be additional funds to his department at the end of year if needed to maintain the dog.
"Personally, I'm glad to hear we'll be able to keep the dog. It's just such a lovable animal. You just can't help but embrace that hound," said Wieland.
Additionally, the responsibility and care of Juneau has been transferred to Investigator Jeremy Reed, who was responsible for New Ulm's previous K9 dog, Thunder, until the animal was retired. Wieland declined to comment on the reason for the change, simply stating it was a non-serious personnel issue.
Reed will take care of Juneau the same as he did for Thunder. However, because he has been promoted to investigator, the dog will be on patrol less often to accommodate Reed's investigative duties. The dog will be on call for specialty services, such as sniffing out drugs or assisting in searches.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)