MILLE LACS (WJON News) - The Mille Lacs County Sherriff has a new police dog working the streets.

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Boots is a German Sheppard imported from Slovakia through Performance Kennels, the same company that has provided all of the police dogs for the Mille Lacs County Sherriff’s Office.

Boots arrived in July and was sent with his trainer to an intensive, 16-week, handling school through late October. The new skills training includes criminal apprehension, tracking, evidence recovery, and controlled substance detection.

Officials say Boots has been assigned to handler Deputy Caleb Sawatsky, who also serves as a member of the SWAT team and a use of force instructor. As has been the case with all the office police dogs, Boots will live with Deputy Sawatsky and be available to other agencies who may need the assistance of a K-9 unit. Deputy Sawatsky and Boots have been assigned to the night shift in the county.

The K-9 program at the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department is funded through donations from the public, with little or no funding through taxpayers. Over the past few years, officials say the program has received more than $70,000 in donations. The money will be used to purchase the animal, training costs, and convert a police vehicle into one capable of housing police dogs.

Boots was named after a request from a donor, who asked that a dog be named after a childhood pet.

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