Riverboat Foundation donates for sheriff's K-9 officer

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office will be getting a new K-9 officer sooner than expected.

The Washington County Riverboat Foundation surprised the department on Thursday with a $10,000 grant to cover the cost of a new police dog.

The department’s previous K-9 officer, Vasco, died of cancer in early December, leaving the department without a police dog.

“We didn’t have the funds in the K-9 fund to replace him,” Sheriff Jared Schneider told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. “The Riverboat Foundation gave us $10,000 to get him replaced.

“We’re grateful to have that donation.”

Since Vasco died, the department has been searching for a new dog, even though they did not yet have the money.

Deputy Nolan Burke, the K-9 handler, said that they have chosen a new dog that is being trained at Tree Town Kennels in Forest City.

“The dog we’re getting is one the owner considered running himself,” Schneider said. “We spent some time up there and saw that it would be a good one to train.”

The dog, which originally came from Poland, is named Dzamal (pronounced “Jamal”).

“A lot of these dogs come from Poland,” Schneider said.

Having the money in hand, Nolan will be able to begin training with Dzamal in February.

“We’re getting the contract with the kennel reviewed right now,” Schneider said.