Four-legged officer joins Champaign police

Solo, a giant schnauzer, is the newest member of the Champaign police department.

The new police dog was purchased using donations from the Rural King, Sam’s Club, Ryan’s Family Steakhouse and the First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust. A year and a half ago, the companies gathered to find a way to help the community after one of the employees learned the Champaign police department was in need of a new police dog.

“Actually it was my idea,” said Rhonda Grisamore, store manager at the Rural King. “(The Rural King) just got here and I wanted to do something for the community. And there was a police officer sitting outside one day before we open. I went out there and started talking to him and (he) said that they recently lost a dog. So, at that time … (the company) started talking about it and I said, ‘Let’s get them a dog.’”

The Rural King held an in-store pet competition as a fundraising event in which spectators were encouraged to donate at the register. At the end of the six weeks, Rural King presented a $6,000 check to the Champaign Police Department. Grisamore added that this fundraising event could not have made $6,000 without the contributions of the other companies.

This Thursday, the Champaign police department introduced the new dog at the Rural King to show its appreciation to the companies and to the public.

According to Kristina Trock, the K-9 officer at the Champaign Police Department, Solo is a passive alert dog that tracks human scents and drugs. Solo has been working with the police for a week now and has worked with drug sweeps and a robbery track.

R.T. Finney, the Champaign chief of police, said Solo will work with all parts of the community.

“He is a working dog and he is a great addition to the department,” Finney said. “Solo will be working all over the town. He and his partner, Officer Trock, will go wherever needed. He made a drug arrest the other night and we are happy to have him.”

Trock said she is happy about the work Solo has done so far and she is optimistic about their role in protecting the Champaign community.

“He is a great dog and he has got a great temperament; we get along great,” Trock said. “I expect him to be a great drug dog and get a lot of drugs off the street.”