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Canine Unit

Minneapolis Police Canine Foundation

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Canine unit history

The City of Minneapolis started testing using canines before 1970. Police Chief Gordon Johnson sent two officers, Welton Kopp and Mike Fisher, to Washington, D.C. where they trained with two German shepherd dogs. Both officers returned with their dogs and convinced the city leadership to invest in a canine program. Welton and Mike recruited 8 handlers for the first class and found dogs for the new venture. Dogs were recruited from the private sector, mainly from German shepherd dog breeders. The 1970 class had 8 teams. 

The first class trained at the then closed U.S. Navy base in south Minneapolis. . Officers trained in all phases of police dog use using the standards set by the United States Police Canine Association. The first class trained for 13 weeks. 

All graduated in 1971. The teams then served all precincts across the city through the Tactical Services Division and the Special Operations Division. The Canine Unit organization and tasks assigned increased over the years.

The original 8 officers chosen for the canine unit: Officers William Lundquist, K9 Sergeant (his name was changed since the breeders had named him Hippie Hit Hat); Mark Jacobson, K9 Rommel; Phil Bishman, K9 Lance; Dave Neibur, K9 Thor; Richard Stahura, K9 Trooper; Dick Morrill, K9 Rex; Roger Fancher, K9 Clancy; and Charles Adams, K9 Lance.

Minneapolis opened its canine training grounds to neighboring police departments and offered to train canine teams. St. Paul Police Department sent several officers to Minneapolis to be trained. After they established a Canine Unit in their department, they too built a kennel and training facility. This facility also serves as a training location for outside communities. Numerous departments from out of state train and receive recognition at yearly competitions. 

Questions?

Contact: Sergeant John Sheneman at 612-369-3073.

Last updated Apr 17, 2019

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