Powers Police Dog

A window at Powers City Hall reflects Police Chief Robert Baker and a group of Powers Elementary School students Friday morning as they meet Bruin, the department's new K9 unit.

POWERS — In an effort to crack down on illegal drug activity and increase patrols, Powers Police Chief Robert Baker is launching a new K9 program.

Working with a limited budget, Baker has called on a number of community members and surrounding organizations to help him get the program off the ground.

Powers Police Department's K9 unit Bruin shows off Thursday for students of Powers Elementary School at City Hall. The 5-month Belgian Malinoi…

“The program right now is being completely funded through donations, grants and myself,” said Baker. “A few months ago, I found a Belgian Malinois and purchased it out of my own pocket because our city needs it.”

According to Baker, depending on how much funds become available, he is hoping to get 5-month-old Bruin trained and certified in about a year and a half.

“He is very young and smart," he said. “I would like to get (him) dual-certified which I understand will be a difficult thing to do, but it’ll be worth it.”

Currently, Baker is working with Eugene-based trainer Ken Schilling, of Schilling’s Northwest Law Dogs, on developing a training program specifically catered to Bruin. One of his goals for the program he said is to have Bruin certified in both patrol and narcotics detection.

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The costs for training and equipment can become costly with estimates for K9 programs being in the tens of thousands. In addition to training for Bruin, Baker will also have to take classes to become a certified handler.

“Going forward I know traveling, training and the certifications are going to be my biggest expenses,” said Baker.

So far, Baker said he has received donations from numerous Powers residents and neighboring law enforcement agencies including the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, which donated a transportation kennel for the department’s K9 unit vehicle.

Police Chief Robert Baker introduces a group of Powers Elementary School students to his police dog in training Friday morning outside Powers …

“Once we get certified I know we’re going to be a big asset to the community and the south end of the county,” said Baker. “I’ve always wanted to work with dogs and this is a great opportunity to do that, increase safety and invest back into our city.”

For more information on the K9 program or interested in making a donation, Baker said people can call his office at 541-439-2411 or email him at Robert.baker@cityofpowers.com.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.