Lockport council delays decision on police dog
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent April 2, 2014 10:06PM
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:43AM
The Lockport City Council on Wednesday night tabled the police chief’s request for a K-9 unit to allow for further research and discussion of the issue.
“This was just given to us as a done deal,” Ald. Denise Marynowski (4th) said. “... I think we need to know why does a city the size of Lockport really need a K-9 unit.”
Police Chief Terrance Lemming, who took the post in December, said the city has obtained a $12,500 grant to establish a K-9 unit, which would be used for crowd control and drug searches. He suggested trading a Lockport police vehicle for one equipped for a police dog from the Lemont Police Department, which recently discontinued its K-9 unit.
Marynowski said Wednesday that she was concerned with the costs of maintaining and insuring a K-9 unit.
Ald. Kelly Turner (2nd) seconded Marynowski’s motion to table the proposal, saying he was recently mauled by a German Shepherd, the most common breed for police work, and discovered that the average award from a lawsuit for a dog attack is about $30,000.
Mayor Steven Streit supported having a K-9 unit but asked Lemming to provide aldermen with more information. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at an April 16 council committee meeting.
Lemming’s hiring as chief was controversial when half the aldermen, including Marynowski, strongly opposed it, favoring Dave Draksler, a 26-year department veteran, for the position.
Alderman recently approved Lemming’s changes to the department’s command structure to include more high-ranking officers for accountability and management, including appointing Draksler as deputy chief.
Also Wednesday, the council passed an ordinance setting a $25 fine for residents who leave unbundled branches or garbage cans in the street after being given a three-day notice to remove them.
Streit said he also would like to make the city’s wood-chipping service available to residents twice a year, an idea that will be discussed at the April 16 meeting.