New JPD K-9 named in memory of Kallie Swan
The Jamestown Police Department on Wednesday introduced its newest member of the force, and in doing so is recognizing a local symbol of hope for families stricken with pediatric cancers and other illnesses.
K-9 Kal, a 13-month-old German shepherd, is named after Kallie Swan who died in May 2015 after a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Officer Erik Kraft of the Jamestown Police Department said naming his new partner after Kallie seemed appropriate in that Kallie’s Krusade has become an important part of the local community.
“It was kind of clear we wanted to do this for Kallie Swan,” Kraft told The Post-Journal, noting that Kallie had been made an honorary member of the police department. “I had talked to both Tara and Shane (Kallie’s parents) the other day to make sure they were OK with this. Obviously it’s a male dog so we left it up with them about a name, and we both agreed on it.”
“She just loved dogs in general,” Tara Swan said of the recognition to Kallie. “She would be totally excited knowing a dog, especially a K-9, is honoring her and her legacy.”
She added: “With Erik, he really creates such a strong bond with these dogs, and they’re more than just dogs, they’re part of the family.”
A series of fundraisers have been used to help the Kallie’s Krusade Foundation provide a variety of services to local families in need. That includes assisting with medical bills and lodging as well as donating gas cards for long drives to regional hospitals.
“One of the conversations I had with Erik,” Tara Swans said, “he told me, ‘I won’t let you down. This dog will carry her name with honor.'”
Kraft said training with K-9 Kal will begin Monday at a facility near Syracuse. He said his new partner will undergo training to become certified in a variety of skills, including tracking and narcotics detection. At the moment, Kraft said he is hoping to give K-9 Kal the chance to become acclimated with his family after a long journey from the Czech Republic.
“He’s been moving around quite a bit,” he said. “We have him at home and trying to allow him to get used to it before we start training.”
Kraft said he wanted to remain the department’s K-9 handler following the sudden death of K-9 Promber.
He told interim Chief Timothy Jackson he wished to move forward with a new partner.
“He gave me the OK,” Kraft said of Jackson. “Things began to move quickly, and we began making arrangements to pick up a new K-9. … I think it’s important that the city has a K-9.”