MPD gets new K-9 unit, still seeks funding

Officer Eric Siemens, with the Marshalltown Police Department, will now handle Raji, the MPD’s newest K-9 officer.

Raji is named for Green Bay Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji because he is “as big as a defensive lineman but faster than a defensive back.”

Siemens and his new partner begin training in March in St. Paul, Minn. and will return in May. The MPD began raising funds late last year when K-9 Creasy, handled by Sgt. Kiel Stevenson, suffered an embolism that eventually led to the dog’s death.

The police department set a short-term and long-term goal for raising money for the replacement of Creasy and Sgt. Melinda Ruopp’s partner K-9 Awol, who suffers from a degenerative muscle disease and will soon need to retire.

Although the MPD has reached its goal of $20,000 to obtain the dog, it is still seeking funding to outfit a car and provide money for another dog. The city has been in talks of establishing a fund for future dogs, but the MPD is still seeking public support to reach its goal of $60,000 to fully fund the program in the interim.

Raji is from Slovakia, the pup of a Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd.

Siemens has worked with Sgt. Ruopp since mid-November helping with demonstrations and raising money.

To make a tax-deductible donation, make checks payable to the Marshalltown Police Department, 22 N. Center St. Write “K9 unit” in the memo line.