Sandwich looks to acquire new police dog

City retired first police dog this past summer because of health problems

Sandwich Police Department K-9 Officer Keith Rominski and Diesel, the department's first police dog. The Sandwich City Council on July 3 approved an ordinance to retire Diesel because of health problems.

Sandwich Police Department is looking to acquire another police dog next year after having to retire its first police dog this past summer because of health problems.

New Sandwich Police Chief Kevin Senne said the department has secured a grant for some funding for the canine program.

“But the classes themselves are very hard to get into,” Senne said. “We found the ability to get into a class in the fall of 2024. We reserved that spot, so should we move forward with continuing our canine program, we have that spot locked in.”

The classes train officers on how to work with canine dogs.

“They only do the class twice a year because part of the canine program is they have to train the dogs first and then they bring the dogs in with the handler and then there’s another program with the handler and the dog to go through,” he said.

The grant is about $7,000 and the canine class is about $13,000 to $14,000. That cost includes the purchase of a canine dog and the training involved with the dog, Senne said.

He anticipated the new canine dog would start with the city in November 2024.

The Sandwich City Council on July 3 approved an ordinance to retire Diesel, the department’s first police dog. Diesel first started with the Sandwich Police Department in 2016.

“It just became time where we couldn’t get him to a comfortable level of health,” Sandwich Mayor Todd Latham said. “And because of that, we didn’t want the dog to suffer and be in pain.”

The Sandwich police officer who had been Diesel’s handler doesn’t want to be a canine officer again, Senne said. He said the department will go through a process to find a new canine officer.

“We will see who would be interested in being a canine officer and there will be an interview process,” he said. “And then we would make a decision on who we would want our canine handler to be.”

As Senne said, the Sandwich Police Department already has a vehicle that is designated as a canine vehicle. In talking about Diesel, Latham had said the dog had proved to be a valuable asset for the department.

“Diesel made his mark in just his first few days on the job assisting the Kendall County Cooperative Police Assistance Team at a residence where Diesel helped locate 185 grams of cocaine and 2,500 grams of cannabis that were hidden,” he said.