The Muncie Police Department recently purchased their third K-9 officer, thanks to a donation from an Indianapolis woman.

Donna Maitlen learned about MPD's desire for more K-9s after she came across a Fox 59 story. She is pro-police and has noticed Muncie’s drug problem appears in the news often.

“Oftentimes, when they need one of these dogs for a narcotics thing, they’re on another call,” Maitlen said. “And I just didn’t want a piece of a dog, I wanted to get a whole dog.”

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From there she contacted police chief Joe Winkle and bought MPD K-9 Rasse. Rasse came from Von Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, with approximately one-and-a-half years of training. 

Rasse has been at home with Patrolman Chase Hunter for the past two weeks and began training last week. To be certified, Patrolman Hunter and Rasse will complete over 200 hours of training together in order to bond and pick up on each others’ signals.

“You’re gonna get up close and personal with these dogs, they need to trust you and they need to trust them,” Hunter said. “I can kinda seek his mannerisms, I know if I do something and he doesn’t like it, I can shy away from doing that again.”

Hunter said he wants to train to the best of his abilities so that MPD gets the most use out of Rasse, plus he wants Maitlen to be happy with her purchase. 

Maitlen met Rasse and Officer Hunter Sept. 11. Hunter said that any time Maitlen is in town, he will bring Rasse to her.

“I can’t believe somebody has that big of a heart where they wanna help out an entire department and city. It’s pretty incredible, actually, just to say that one person is like, ‘You know what? That’s a very important tool that the police department needs for this community,’ and she went out and made the steps to have it happen,” Hunter said. “We’re very grateful for it.”

The department uses the K-9s for various tasks throughout the day. Recently, MPD K-9 Carlos apprehended an armed robbery suspect who was hiding two blocks away from the crime.

“[K-9s] are used a lot more than I think the public realizes, and it’s not just for narcotics — it’s for tracking, it’s for apprehensions, crowd control — we use them all throughout the department,” Hunter said. 

K-9s can cost anywhere between $10-15,000. MPD started fundraising two months ago with the goal of buying the first K-9 by October, but Rasse was purchased in August.

“Initially, we were gonna try to purchase four dogs- two this year, two next year. I think that we’ll probably be very close to purchasing all four this year, which will put us ahead of the game,” Officer Chase Winkle said. 

To raise money for the next K-9s, MPD is hosting Dogtober Fest Oct. 21 from 2-6 p.m. at Canan Commons. 

The fundraising event will feature dog games, special dog treats and a costume contest. Food trucks, local breweries and entertainment will also be there. 

All dogs must be on a leash and humans must be at least 21-years-old. Tickets are $25 for one owner and one dog. Additional dogs may be added to an owner ticket for $5.