TALLMADGE — The city could be providing mutual aid to Mogadore in the form of a four-legged officer. Tallmadge City Council is considering an agreement to share the police department’s enthusiastic 9-year-old K9 Axel with the village to the south when needed, in exchange for the opportunity to add another canine to its fleet.
"Mogadore had attempted to start their own K9 program, which didn’t get off the ground," Tallmadge Police Chief Ronald S. Williams reports. "As a result, they had funds and equipment available." Under a proposed memorandum of understanding, Mogadore would donate $9,327.88 to Tallmadge toward the cost of an additional Tallmadge Police K9 in exchange for mutual aid from Tallmadge whenever the village requires the services of a K9.
"So both communities benefit," Williams says. "Tallmadge can add an additional K9 which will improve our coverage and Mogadore will have access to a K9 when needed."
Tallmadge City Council gave a second reading to the memorandum on Jan. 24. Williams reports his department did request funding for a second K9 in the 2019 budget. "Our K9 program has been successful," according to the chief, "but the way that we are structured, we only have a dog 50 percent of the night shifts. This will cover the other half." The new dog and officer will be trained together this spring, Williams reports.
An 85-pound German Shepherd who hails from Canada, Axel has been paired with Police Officer Nate Ickes since 2012, when Ickes became the department’s first K-9 officer in about a generation. Axel and Ickes are required by the state to train at least 16 hours a month for the canine to maintain his commission. Axel is trained in building searches, foot pursuits and tracking as well as article searches, handler protection and controlled aggression, meaning the ability to be aggressive to suspects without taking it too far and causing serious injury. K9s usually work until they are 10 or 11 years old, according to Ickes.
Mogadore also proposes to give Tallmadge a device called a "hot-n-pop." Williams says it monitors the temperature inside a vehicle and can either open a door or car window if the temperature within the vehicle exceeds a safe limit. "Occasionally you will hear of a police K9 who has died because of being left in a hot car," Williams says, adding, "This protects against that."
Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, firstname.lastname@example.org or @EllinWalsh_RPC.