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 Marshalltown Police Department’s newest K-9 unit, Raji, is shown here chewing on a toy. Officer Eric Siemens will handle Raji. The MPD is still seeking donations to continue to fund the program.
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.