Mundelein police get Titan, their first dog since 1970s
A Mundelein police officer has been teamed with a canine partner for the first time since the 1970s.
Although trained in drug detection, tracking and other police-related skills, Titan -- an 82-pound German shepherd -- primarily will serve in a public relations role along with his handler, veteran officer Steve Kroll.
At a time when communities across the nation are losing faith in their local police officers because of high-profile deaths and violence, that task is a critical one for Chief Eric Guenther.
"Every opportunity we have to create dialogue with our citizens is one more opportunity to build trust and mutual respect," Guenther said. "This program will no doubt do exactly that."
Titan will be formally introduced to the public at Monday's village board meeting. It's set for 7 p.m. at village hall, 300 Plaza Circle.
Born in Slovakia about two years ago, Titan was trained at TOPS Kennel in Grayslake. His purchase and training primarily were funded by donations from two Mundelein families and a grant, Guenther said.
The department received donations from suburban businesses for the effort, too.
Kroll has been with the department for nine years. He's never before served on a dog team.
The duo primarily will work the evening shift from 4 p.m. to midnight.
"(That) is typically our busiest time," Guenther said.
Titan and Kroll will be able to assist with drug cases, searches, officer protection and other traditional law-enforcement assignments, but Guenther sees the dog's community relations job as paramount.
"Titan will play a vital role in our efforts to create a bond with our citizens," he said. "People are fascinated with and love animals. That is evident in their willingness to so graciously donate financially to this program."