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City's next police officer might bite

Give it a year or so, and the Farmington Police Department will hopefully have another member. Granted, he or she will be on four legs and have a keen sense of smell, but no doubt, he or she will be a welcome addition.

You guessed it: the next addition to the Farmington Police Department could very well be canine. It's an addition police chief Brian Lindquist says will help keep the community safe.

"We've looked at the possibility (of a canine unit) here for several years, but were never in the position to implement it correctly," Lindquist said.

That changed when Lindquist received word the St. Paul Police Canine Foundation was going to give Farmington a $6,000 to $8,000 grant to help the project along. The foundation makes grants available, so smaller departments like Farmington can pay for the implementation of new canine units.

The funds from St. Paul cover the purchase of a trained dog, and help cover the cost of training an officer to work with the dog. The officer who will work with the dog has not been selected, but he or she will train in St. Paul, which offers a nationally-recognized canine program.

In order to get the funding, Farmington must come up with a $4,000 match. That is something Lindquist hopes the community will help cover with donations.

In the past, Farmington police have had to rely on canine units from other communities -- Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville, Burnsville or Dakota County, for instance -- when they have needed to track something or someone.

Training for the dog handler is scheduled to begin in March, which means the police department has a few months to collect donations. Anyone is interested in making a donation to the canine unit program can call the police department at 651-280-6700.

For the complete story, see the Aug. 6, 2009, edition of the Farmington Independent.