Zionsville Police Department Gets New K-9
K-9 officers are beloved members of a police force. Cities rally around the highly trained dogs when they’re injured in the line of duty, sick or die. The Zionsville Police Department (ZPD) recently welcomed a new member to the team. Mika, who is one and a half years old, is a part German Shepherd and part Belgian Malinois mix from Hungary. She joined the ZPD in December with K-9 Corporal Josh Stutesman as her handler.
“We received a very generous donation from a Zionsville resident to get Mika,” Stutesman says. “We went up to Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, and selected her from six or seven dogs.”
Mika and Stutesman completed a rigorous six-week training course in December.
“She went through a very basic training course before I selected her,” Stutesman says. “Then she and I completed the six-week course together so we can build up trust, bond, and build up the relationship. She needs to trust me and know I won’t put her in any situation that would harm or hurt her. Also, I learn her cues. Those first six weeks together are vital to the relationship.”
Mika is trained in drug detection, tracking, apprehensions and protecting other officers.
“They end up becoming part of the pack,” Stutesman says. “They are protective of all the officers. They’re vital to the department in terms of finding drugs that we all want off the streets, but also they’re a great way for us to bond with our community.”
Mika is Stutesman’s second K-9 partner, replacing Jelka, who died from cancer in 2019. She will join another ZPD K-9, Thor.
“These dogs can bring the community together,” Stutesman says. “The community rallied around Jelka and I know they will do the same for Mika. Being a K-9 handler is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
Mika is young and still has a lot to learn, but Stutesman is impressed with her skills thus far.
“She’s a puppy and even though she lives with me 24/7, she has to learn she isn’t a civilian pet,” Stutesman says. “She hasn’t met my wife or son yet. The last thing we want to do is make them civilian, and have them come out on the road and not protect the officers or citizens. She’s a lover for sure, but she’s also a very hard-working dog. I’m excited about her future.”
Stutesman wants the Zionsville community to know how appreciative he is of the donation he received to purchase Mika.
“I want to extend a huge thank-you to the donors who donated the money,” Stutesman says. “I also want to thank the community for all their thoughts and prayers for Jelka. To see the community come together for Jelka with all her issues, and then to see somebody step up and put forth the money for my second dog – it’s just greatly appreciated.”
Mika is now on patrol with Officer Stutesman in Zionsville. For more info, visit zionsville-in.gov/582/K-9-Program.