The Salem Police Department will welcome a new K-9 unit later this year, following the recent retirement of K-9 “Freddy” a few weeks ago.

According to Police Chief Kyle Ambuehl, the new dog has been received and the new handler has been selected, with the pair expected to begin a 10-week training session on October 10.

Officer Grant Green will replace Officer Dustin Duncan as the department K-9 officer, with Duncan returning to patrolman duties following the retirement of “Freddy,” who Duncan worked with for around 8 years.

“Freddy is retired and living the good life now,” Ambuehl said, noting that he will remain with Duncan in retirement.

Green’s partner will be a two-year-old Belgian Malinois named “Civka,” according to Ambuehl.

“Officer Grant Green will be our new K-9 officer and he’s going to be attending training in Monmouth, Illinois, at Cedar Creek Kennels, where we purchased the dog,” said Ambuehl.

He noted that Green recently went and picked up “Civka.”

“Part of the acclimation process and the process of training the dog is for our K-9 handler to go and get the dog and bring it home before training,” Ambuehl explained, noting that this helps the handler and the dog form a bond before actual training begins.

The actual training program for the dog and handler is set to get under way on October 10, with the 10-week program expected to wrap up with graduation on December 16.

With the retirement of “Freddy” expected this year, Ambuehl explained that the department was able to include the cost of purchasing and training the new dog in the current year’s budget.

“The cost of the dog and training is right around $15,000,” said Ambuehl.

The chief noted that “Freddy” was a valuable member of the local police department during his time as an active K-9, and he is happy that the department will be able to continue the K-9 program with the addition of “Civka.”

“A lot of our activity in making traffic stops and doing drug investigations, it’s essential to have a K-9,” said Ambuehl.

He also noted that the K-9s are very useful in tracking situations.

“If you get somebody that walks away from a nursing facility, we can use the dog for tracking and they can narrow down where the individual is,” said Ambuehl.

With the training program for Green and “Civka” expected to wrap up in mid-December, Ambuehl said he expects the dog to begin its service with the department shortly thereafter.