Welcoming Dowagiac’s newest officer

Published 9:35 am Monday, May 2, 2016

If you ask us, the newest member of the Dowagiac Police Department really “nose” his stuff.

Last month, police leaders announced they had recently found a new four-legged police officer to serve on the department’s K-9 unit — 3-year-old German Shepard Tole (pronounced toe-lee). The police dog will work alongside his new handler, Officer Kevin Roman, following the conclusion of his training in July.

Tole replaces Dowagiac’s former K-9, Cessy, who retired after a decade of service with the department. Department leadership went forward with the decision to replace Cessy after Starks Family Funeral Homes agreed to pay for the purchase and training of a new canine.

As explained by Director of Public Safety Steve Grinnewald, having a trained police dog on the force enhances local law enforcement in several ways. With training in human tracking and narcotics detection, a police dog’s superior olfactory system allows it to perform functions that no human could possibly do, from picking up scents of a missing child to finding drugs hidden inside the homes and vehicles of suspects.

While the department’s previous K-9 was never required to do so, police dogs are also trained in aggression in cases where the dog is required to defend itself or other officers working alongside it.

In addition to work on the field, though, K-9s are an invaluable tool for community outreach, as the dogs work as a great way for kids especially to relate to the work the department does to protect local residents.

For these reasons and more we are glad to see the department move forward with plans to purchase another K-9 for the force.

We are also pleased to see that the Starks family stepped up to support this endeavor. As we’ve said in the past, part of what allows this community to thrive are the partnerships formed by both public and private entities, and this a great example of what can happen when both work together for the betterment of everyone.

We welcome Tole to the local police force, and we wish his and Officer Roman’s new partnership the best.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.