The Gun Lake Tribe donated $12,000 to the Allegan County Sheriff's Department to purchase a new member of the public safety team: Medo, a K-9 Academy International graduate. Pictured, from the left, are Officer Ben Haas (Medo's handler), Medo, Gun Lake Chairman D.K. Sprague, Sheriff Blaine Koops, Gun Lake General Manager Rob McDermott.

Gun Lake Tribe Donates K-9 to County Sheriff’s Department

Gale Courey Toensing
8/27/11

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department in Wayland, Mich., has a new officer – Medo, a German shepherd, who graduated at the top of his class at the K-9 Academy International.

Medo’s “employment” by the County Sheriff’s Department was funded with a $12,000 donation from the Gun Lake Tribe (the Match-E-Be-Nash-E-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians). On August 25, Gun Lake Tribe officials and members of the Allegan County Sherriff’s Office got together for a public ceremony to announce the donation and introduce Medo to the community. Attending the event were Gun Lake Chairman D.K. Sprague and Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops, Gun Lake’s elected Tribal Council, Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority staff, Gun Lake Casino management team, tribal public safety officers and the Allegan County Sheriff’s Command Staff and K-9 Unit.

The tribe and the Gun Lake Casino each contributed $6,000 for the “new furry resource,” the tribe said in a press release. The tribe opened its Gun Lake Casino with around 700 employees on February 10, 2011. The casino was an immediate hit, requiring the tribe to hire an additional 200 people by the end of March. Two months later – by the end of June – Gun Lake was able to make its first state and local revenue sharing payments of more than $2.5 million. Future revenue sharing payments will be based on six-month operating periods, the tribe said.

“Thanks to our outstanding staff of 900 team members and the popularity of our first-class entertainment facility, we are excited to help the community with the addition of Medo,” Sprague said. “This donation maintains our commitment to public safety, and our solid partnership with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.”

In early June, the tribe announced the certification of its own Department of Public Safety to enforce federal, state, and tribal law and to assist local law enforcement agencies in the performance of their duties when needed.

Koops welcomed Medo to the Sheriff’s Department. “Besides our staff, one of the greatest resources this agency has is the K-9 program. I cannot thank the Gun Lake Tribe and the Gun Lake Casino enough for their generous gift,” Koops said. Addressing Sprague and the other tribal officials, Koops said, “Your gift may one day save the life of a child, solve a serious crime, or track down and apprehend a dangerous offender.”

When the speeches were over, it was Medo’s turn to shine. He demonstrated some of the skills he had learned at the K-9 Academy International in Lowell, Michigan, including search and rescue tactics, locating a lost child, and identifying illegal substances. Medo was chosen out of 11 puppies based on his solid physique and demeanor.

“He was one of the top-ranking dogs in his class and one of the best dogs they had,” said Gun Lake spokesman Jim Nye. “Out of the four that were available, there was one that was jumping up and barking and making a scene. When you have a German shepherd acting like that it can be a little scary. Medo was calm and serene by comparison. He’s a good dog.”

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