Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

As Victor’s eventual retirement approaches, local youths launch fundraising effort for successor


Victor’s career in law enforcement has been well documented in newspaper stories in the Twin ports area. Victor is a Belgian Malinois with an uncanny ability for finding illegal drugs during police search activities.

According to Fond du Lac Police Sgt. Casey Rennquist, he and Victor have been partners for over five years. The dog was believed to be 5 years old when he was purchased.

“Victor is still doing a good job but I am able to see that his joints and hips are starting to show the ten years of wear and tear, Rennquist said. “With him showing his age I think it’s time to start getting ready for the future, since finding a replacement K-9 can be a long process.”

Rennquist said that Victor is the second K-9 he has handled, and he has been handling police animals for six years.

“Victor has been a great partner! I have a deep love for this breed and it would take a lot for me to think about taking on a different breed as my partner,” Rennquist said.

Casey and Victor have worked with many agencies from around the area. Among them, the Carlton County Sheriff Dept., St. Louis County Sheriff Dept., Cloquet Police Dept., Minnesota State Patrol, Duluth Police Dept., Arrowhead Region Probation, the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections, and the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force.

The team also assists other groups around the region, including the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, the Cloquet, Cromwell, and Carlton School Districts, Dare programs in the area, and the Explorer Program.

Neighboring law enforcement agencies also appreciate having a K-9 available. “Having a K-9 officer is a huge tool for us, Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande said. “It’s a limited commodity in northern Minnesota. We try to share those resources.”

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake concurred: “A K-9 is a valuable tool for law enforcement to use in the fight against drugs. The trained dogs have such an amazingly strong sense of smell, that they are able to detect drugs that an officer may not otherwise find.”

“Casey has always been willing to assist the deputies here and the other law enforcement agencies in the surrounding area. It is through cooperative efforts like this between law enforcement agencies that we will make the biggest impact for public safety in our communities.”

Joe Bauer, a 5th grader at Churchill Elementary School in Cloquet, decided to raise money to help the Fond du Lac Police Department find Victor’s successor. He started a fundraising drive collecting aluminum cans and accepting cash donations, which will be forwarded to the Police Dept.

“That sounds like an amazing thing this young boy is doing,” Lake said.

With many communities cutting back on spending, other agencies have had to drop their programs or cut back on funding which has increased how much victor is being used, according to Rennquist.

“I would definitely say in the last couple of years my K-9 deployment numbers are way up. I would attribute that to more drug crimes, officer education, and fewer K-9's in the area.”

“With Joe Bauer's help and his great ideas and efforts, hopefully this K-9 program can continue to protect the Fond du Lac Reservation and the people in the surrounding communities,” Rennquist said.

Joe’s older brother Cody also helps with the can collection drive, and he intends to submit an application through the Pepsi Refresh Project (PRP). The PRP is an initiative by Pepsi to award $20 million in grants to individuals, businesses and non-profits that promote a new idea that has a positive impact on their community, state, or the nation. The contest divides $1.3 million each month, with award amounts ranging between $5,000 and $250,000.

To donate your aluminum cans or to make a monetary donation, contact Joe Bauer at (218) 590-5755.


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