WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Police Department’s newest officer is ready to take a bite out of crime.
Miko — Chickasaw for “chief of peace” — will begin his first shift as the WPD’s newest K9 with his handler, Officer Jordan Ianson, on Wednesday.
Chief Ron Cravens said he couldn’t be happier with the new team.
Ianson and Miko (pronounced MEE-koh) completed their certification training last Thursday in Urbana, according to Cravens. This included tracking, article searches, vehicle searches, building searches and apprehension.
“I was fortunate enough to watch the certification process on a very cold and windy day,” said Cravens. “When the wind blows, it’s harder for a dog to track and pick up scents.”
But Miko — a Belgian Malinois-German Shepherd mix — was able to “pick right up on it,” according to Cravens.
Ianson has been practicing car stop routines that he’ll do with his new partner. Cravens indicated the two, and the rest of the department, are ready to go with Miko.
Crime-fighting priorities for the dog will be “narcotics, tracking, search and apprehension,” according to Cravens.
“The one thing I would caution people on is if Jordan and Miko show up to the scene, follow all the lawful orders that are given and everything will work out fine,” said Cravens. “Don’t try to taunt the dog, don’t try to assault the dog, don’t do anything silly, because he is a working K9 and is a member of our department. Charges can be filed.”
Thanks to generous funding from the Matt Haverkamp Foundation, the city did not have to fork over a penny of the approximately $10,000 cost of obtaining a K9.
The foundation was established by Haverkamp’s parents in 2005 in remembrance of the Golf Manor Police Department K9 handler who died in a car accident that year. Its purpose is to continue Haverkamp’s legacy and keep his memory alive by supporting the law enforcement agencies in communities in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Cravens invited Nancy Haverkamp to the next in-person city council meeting so she can watch Miko get sworn in.
Cravens told the News Journal there’s great enthusiasm for Miko joining the force.
A long road
Miko got his training at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Canine Training Facility in Marysville, which offers free K9 training to its law enforcement partners.
The News Journal reported in August that the road to obtaining a K9 officer is a long and winding one, and city officials were very supportive of the entire project and process, including Mayor John Stanforth and Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker, Cravens said.
That process began about eight months ago with rigorous interviews and screening of WPD officers who applied for the position of K9 handler.
From those, Ianson, a Wilmington native and WHS graduate, was selected.
“Over the past year-and-a-half I have seen the devastation of what narcotics can do to a person and family,” said Ianson in August. “With the added tool of the K9, I hope to remove more narcotics from the city and help those who are affected by them.”
Cravens explained that a K9 handler also has to undergo rigorous training, from case law and policies and procedures to proper caring and training for the dog.
“This is a big commitment that runs for the life of the dog,” said Cravens then. “Jordan has taken on that task and the responsibility” — which will include 24/7 availability.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574