The Auburn Police Department has a new K-9 Team. Officer Helena Stout has been partnered with Zena, a female two-year-old German Shepherd. Stout is a first time K-9 handler and Zena the first female K-9 in the department’s history.
Zena comes to the Auburn Police Department from an area resident. “She donated [Zena] because she lives in an apartment, it was her first dog, and she didn’t know what it really meant to have a working dog as a pet,” shared Auburn’s Public Information Officer, Kalyn Brady.
An evaluation was required prior to accepting the donated K-9. Chief Dan O’Neil, a former K-9 handler, and current APD K-9 Handler Tim Nunn tested and evaluated Zena. “We had a final evaluation completed by Master K9 Trainer Deputy Munson with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department,” said Brady.
Stout and Zena will complete a 10-week, 400-hour course together, beginning in January.
For the city to purchase a K-9 would normally cost between $8,500-$10,500. The city will retrofit an existing police vehicle for K-9 use. The $7,000 cost is included as a part of the latest 2020 Budget Amendment expected to be passed by City Council. Zena will need a K-9 bulletproof vest. The department’s last new K-9, Jax, had his tactical vest generously donated by J&D’s Hydraulic and Repair Co. Inc.
“Police Dogs are still a valuable tool for public relations,” said Brady. “They also serve a vital role in locating dangerous felons and engaging in officer protection.”
The police department currently has two generalist K-9s, Lu and Jax. Ginger, a drug detection K-9, and her handler work with the Narcotics Taskforce. Zena will be a generalist K-9.