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police & fire

Westport's New K9 Team Ready to Roll

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport Police Officer James Loomer and his new K9 partner Koda recently completed nine weeks of training and are ready for action.

“We’re hoping to catch some bad guys,” Loomer said Monday afternoon during a ceremony at police headquarters. Loomer's been with the department for two years.

The newest team to join the Westport Police K9 Unit, Loomer and Koda, a 20-month-old Belgian Malinois, join Sgt. Ryan Paulsson and his bloodhound, Ellie. They replace Officer Marc Heinmiller and Police Service Dog Lola, a 12-year-old German shepherd. Lola retired in February after 10 years of service and Heinmiller has since returned to patrol work.

Koda, who was flown in from Hungary, is trained to sniff out drugs and track people, Loomer said. Both Loomer and Koda trained with the Norwalk Police Department, Paulsson said.

Koda’s name was picked from those submitted by Westport children during the department’s “Name the dog” contest. It was suggested by 12-year-old Westport resident Michael Cantor, who received a certificate from Chief Dale Call at Monday’s ceremony.

“His name means ‘friend’ in Sioux,” Loomer said. “We thought it was perfect.”

Koda was purchased through private community donations, which also helped pay for a new K9 vehicle.

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