Campton Hills’ first police dog receives badge

Koda assisted with 2 searches in first month of duty

CAMPTON HILLS – The newest member of the Campton Hills Police Department enjoys the occasional dog biscuit as well as being petted.

Koda, a 2-year-old male German shepherd from Czechoslovakia, was sworn in at the Campton Hills Village Board meeting July 16.

He is the department’s first police dog.

Campton Hills Police Officer James Levand, Koda’s handler, went through a training program with the dog. Since starting with the department in the middle of June, Koda already has helped on two searches.

Campton Hills Police Chief Steve Millar said he is pleased with the contributions Koda already has made to the department. He also commended Levand on all the time he has spent working with Koda.

“Every morning, he gets up at 6 a.m. and he takes him out for tracking or different types of training,” Millar said. “And then he comes in to work and does some more.”

Levand also was instrumental in helping raise more than $28,000 so the department could start a K9 unit. The department also sold two surplus vehicles to pay for the cost of the training and a police vehicle equipped for Koda.

Campton Hills doesn’t levy for property taxes, which is why the fundraising efforts were needed.

“Our budget is pretty low, but this is a definite benefit for us,” Millar said. “It’s not something we could have done with the budget we have.”

The community will get to meet Koda during Campton Hills’ National Night Out on Aug. 6. Representatives from Grayslake-based Tops In Dog Training Kennel – where Koda received his training – also will be at the event to show what kind of training Koda went through.

Levand is happy with having Koda as his partner.

“He is a great dog,” Levand said. “The bond with him is huge and it gets stronger every day.”

Levand said he has always wanted to be part of a K9 unit.

“It’s a lifelong dream,” he said. “If you could tell me I could do any job in law enforcement, this would be it, canine handler.”

He is also pleased with the contributions Koda has made since starting with the department.

“In the short amount of time he’s been on the street, he’s already been used on three calls, two of them involving tracking,” Levand said. “He was right on with his tracking. We had a car accident where we were looking for ejected people. We also had a domestic situation where one of the people ran from the scene. The subject ran a big circle when he knew we were tracking and went back and hid in the basement of the house.”