LOCKPORT – Police in Lockport will welcome a furry, friendly face to their ranks.
Joining the department will be a Belgian Malinois dog, which looks similar to a German Shepherd but is smaller and more versatile, Lockport Police Chief Terry Lemming said. Police officials are in the process of choosing the dog for its new K-9 program.
“We wanted more of a passive, friendly dog than an aggressive dog because we want to use it for public relations and policing,” he said.
The police department received a $12,500 grant from Citgo Lemont Refinery to start the K-9 program after Lemont ended its program because of inefficient staffing. Lockport obtained a K-9 vehicle from Lemont by trading equipment.
The Lockport City Council on Wednesday approved the vehicle swap, which made the K-9 program possible.
It will take about three months until the K-9 unit in Lockport becomes active, Lemming said. Once the dog is selected, it has to be trained for six weeks and then trained another six weeks with its trainer, who will be patrol officer Andy Ganger.
When council members asked Lemming why a K-9 program would be needed in the city, he explained dogs are useful for tracking lost children, people with mental illnesses, dangerous suspects and drugs.
“Almost everybody loves dogs,” he said. “Dogs can break the ice in particularly sensitive situations that the police encounter.”
A Salvation Army store won’t open in Lockport any time soon. Last Wednesday, council members unanimously rejected granting the charitable organization a special-use permit to run a thrift store at 954 E. Ninth St.
The store needed a special-use permit because it would sell used merchandise in a community commercial zoning district. Several people who came to an April 8 hearing feared it would negatively impact existing thrift stores while others thought it would increase business at their stores.
City Administrator Ben Benson said city officials had no issue with The Salvation Army itself.
“They just felt at this time they weren’t looking for an additional thrift store in Lockport,” he said about the council’s decision.
Water main replacement project
City officials decided to enter into an agreement with Strand Associates to complete plans and specifications for a water main replacement project at Boehme and State Street for $59,940. Water main breaks and poor water quality troubled residents in the area, according to city records.
A two-phase project is planned for the water main replacement. In fall 2014, phase one will include replacement of the rear yard water main from the residential back yard easement to the Boehme Street right-of-away, city records stated. In spring 2015, phase two would include water main replacement on State Street.