Orono freshman has set up a fund-raising account for project
An Orono Boy Scout wants to commemorate the contributions by the four-legged members of law enforcement that also work to keep our communities safe, by installing a K-9 memorial as his Eagle Scout project.
When researching project ideas, Sam Lieberman, of Troop 206, said he found a lot of monuments honoring the service of the men and women in law enforcement. What he didn’t find, however, were memorials recognizing the work of canines.
“I wanted to do something different,” said the Orono High School freshman, who also has a passion for law enforcement and plans to earn a degree in law enforcement leadership.
He found a designer and supplier of bronze statues online with a variety of monuments, including a life-size statue of a standing German Shepherd Dog, the breed most commonly trained to be K-9 units.
Lieberman chose to donate the statue and have it installed at the Plymouth Police Department in honor of its “elite” K-9 unit, which assists other area departments, including the Orono Police Department, which does not have its own K-9 unit.
“Sam is a talented person and possesses the tenacity to get the project done,” said Plymouth Police Chief Mike Goldstein. “For him to want to recognize the department’s highly regarded K-9 unit in this manner is something we are grateful for.”
Launched in 1991, Plymouth’s K-9 unit is well-established and highly regarded, having won several awards at the annual narcotics recertification this year sponsored by the United States Police Canine Association, in which 106 teams participated, noted Goldstein.
Currently, the unit has three handlers, each with their own dogs, used to detect narcotics in traffic stops, tracking missing or lost persons, and in community outreach programs. Though infrequently used for apprehensions, the dogs can be effective tools, Goldstein said.
Oftentimes, Plymouth’s K-9 unit is requested to provide mutual aid. For example, multiple K-9 units were requested by the Edina Police Department for assistance in an incident, which resulted in Plymouth’s K-9 Odie, catching the offender. Odie’s handler is Officer Bill Dane.
Having this memorial in place will “properly honor our program,” Goldstein said. “It is a wonderful project that we greatly appreciate and look forward to its completion.”
While the Plymouth department hasn’t lost a dog in the line of duty, they have had a beloved K-9 die unexpectedly. “That was a hard day for all of us,” Goldstein said. The others, however, have all “had really fruitful, long careers, and have done a wonderful job for this community,” he said.
With multiple components to the project, Lieberman is now in the process of raising funds to purchase the monument, which stands 34 inches tall and 40 inches in length. In June, Lieberman plans to install the monument on the north side of the Plymouth Police Department, adjacent to the parking lot, with the help of his troop.
After that, Lieberman hopes to have a dedication ceremony for the memorial that will “honor all the dogs who have served and those that have died in the line of duty.”
To help Lieberman raise money the $6,500 for the statue, visit gofundme.com/LiebermanEagle-Project.
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