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La Salle police officer Mark Manicki checks on his canine partner Alistair during a recent training session. The city’s police department plans to replace Manicki’s current K9 vehicle with a newer model. NewsTribune file photo/Anthony Soufflé
For all their bark and bite, police dogs can be real charmers. La Salle’s K9s, Justis and Alistair, were simply taking part in a check-passing photograph Thursday with their police officer handlers Brian Zebron and Mark Manicki when a woman walked up and gave the police a small donation on the spot.
The impromptu donation was not as large as the $3,000 check the city’s police department was receiving as profits from the 2012 Beers of Summer beer tasting fundraiser, but both will help the department buy a new K9 vehicle.
“A new fully equipped K9 vehicle can cost up to $45,000,” said La Salle police chief Rob Uranich, explaining that the department doesn’t just buy a new sport-utility vehicle but also the special equipment needed to prepare it for K9 use.
The city’s most recent K9 SUV was purchased with the assistance of a federal grant. Uranich has applied for another grant, but even if it is awarded, the department still will be matching funds.
The new SUV would replace the 2007 Ford Expedition ridden in by Manicki and Alistair. Uranich explained a police vehicle’s mileage tends to get high and once the warranty expires repairs add up quickly, making it a more cost-efficient option to replace vehicles regularly. Although expensive, Uranich said the K9 units are highly effective.
“The K9s are just incredible, how their noses are so strong,” he said.
Matthew Baker can be reached at (815) 220-6933, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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