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Hobart Happenings: K-9 program gets $80,000 gift

K-9 Officer Bax to retire in 2023
At the Nov. 1 meeting of the Hobart Village Board, Chief Randy Bani, of the Hobart/Lawrence Police Department (HLPD), announced that the department received a sizable donation towards its K-9 program.

“Back in 2016 I proposed the K-9 program to both the Village and Town boards through a large donation and promised that if we were allowed to start this program, that we would continue this program through fundraising and without any burden to the taxpayers of either community,” Bani said.

K-9 Officer Bax is trained to perform a variety of tasks, including apprehending resisting suspects. Bax demonstrated his apprehension skills at an event earlier this year with Village Trustee Vanya Koepke. Josh Staloch Photos

“We have been very successful in raising funds to do this. In 2015 Frank and Jan Fontaine donated $80,000 to start this K-9 program. In 2019, Jeff Marlow and Lexington Homes donated more than $53,000.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Bani revealed that another donation of $80,000 has been given to the program by Hobart residents Don and Carol Kress.

“I am happy to report that Don and Carol Kress have graciously donated another $80,000 to carry this K-9 program through for many years to come,” he said. “I want you all to know that this program is very well-received by both communities, the residents that live and work here and the officers who work side-by-side each day with K-9 Officer Bax.”

K-9 Officer Bax joined the department in 2016 and is trained as both a patrol dog and a detection dog.

As a patrol dog, Bax assists with tracking suspects or missing persons, conducting building and area searches for suspects, searching for evidence, apprehending resisting suspects and protecting his handler.

As a detection dog, Bax is trained to detect drugs.

With six years on the force under his belt — or collar — Bani said K-9 Bax is looking at retirement in 2023.
The Kress’s donation will help to fund the training and purchase of a new dog for the department.

“Next year, Bax will retire from his role in the department and a new K-9 will be purchased and trained to assist all of us in providing protection and community outreach,” he said.

In March 2023, Officer Chris Tremel, HLPD’s K-9 handler, will head to New Mexico to undergo extensive training with the department’s next K-9.

Personnel adjustments
Following a nomination by President Richard Heidel, the Village Board unanimously voted to appoint Erik Perry to fill a vacancy on the Board of Appeals.

Perry’s term will expire in May 2023.

In a closed session, the board voted to assign Katrina Brecker to the position of Village Clerk-Treasurer and Erica Berger, who currently serves as Village Clerk-Treasurer, to the position of Deputy Village Clerk-Treasurer.

That change will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

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