Hoglan penny war helps fund MPD K-9 program

Students at Hoglan Elementary wanted to offer Marshalltown police more than a penny for their thoughts. They wanted to offer the department thousands of pennies for its K-9 fund.

That’s why the school organized a penny war. In just a week, the effort raised $3,083.54 to help reinvigorate the MPD’s ailing police dog unit.

“I was just amazed at what they were able to accomplish in just a week,” said Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper. “They did a great job.”

With the continued health issues of Sgt. Melinda Ruopp’s partner Awol, Tupper said the department will likely need to replace him within the calendar year.

Amy Williams, principal at Hoglan, said pennies counted as positive amounts for the competition and silver coins were deduced from the values, the classes devised some clever ways to put silver coins in other classes’ bins. The totals were counted at the end of each of the five days. For instance, the winning class, Mrs. Kuhlman and Mrs. Martin’s class, offered people attempting to drop off silver coins into their bins treats to go to another classroom.

“There was just some really creative competitive things done that were done just all in the spirit of raising money for a good cause,” Williams said.

The school held an assembly Thursday afternoon to present the money to the MPD. The MPD will recognize Hoglan at an upcoming city council meeting April 15. After the assembly, the winning class got cookies and juice boxes, and Sgt. Ruopp and Awol paid the class a visit.

The money will go toward helping outfit police vehicles so that they are able to accommodate a K-9 unit. Tupper named the department’s next K-9 handler – Officer Eric Siemens – in February, and he is roughly half way through with his training with the department’s new dog Raji in Minnesota.

Raji will replace Sgt. Kiel Stevenson’s partner Creasy who died in late 2012 from complications from an embolism he suffered nearly a year ago.

The MPD has already met its preliminary goal of $20,000, which allowed the department to purchase the new dog and send him and his handler to training, and Tupper said the MPD has already raised $35,000 toward its long-term goal of $60,000.

“We have already put that money to work,” he said.