Canine officers a favorite at Valparaiso police event
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 12, 2014 12:04PM
Valparaiso Police Patrolman John Cordova, left, shows his K-9 partner Sabre off to Adeyinka Soneye and his son, Tae-Min, 1, of Boone Grove, Tuesday at Central Park Plaza during Coffee and Chocolate Milk with a Cop. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 14, 2014 6:24AM
VALPARAISO – The Valparaiso Police Department’s police dogs were the biggest draw Tuesday during Coffee and Chocolate Milk with a Cop at Central Park Plaza.
Sure, there was hot coffee to ward off unseasonably cold temperatures and drizzle, and chocolate milk and doughnuts for kids, but it was the officers’ K-9 companions who got the most attention.
Adeyinka Soneye and his son, Tae-Min, 1, chatted with Valparaiso Police Patrolman John Cordova and checked out his German shepherd, Sabre. Cordova got Sabre in February, and the dog is 2 years old.
“We have two shepherds and he loves dogs,” Soneye, of Boone Grove, said as he held his son.
Soneye said the event, meant to be an informal gathering for the community to meet the police officers who patrol their streets, was “an awesome idea.”
“It’s good for them to express their appreciation, and for the neighborhood to express their appreciation to them, so why not?” he said.
In all, three of the department’s four police dogs came out to meet the public with their handlers. The event also was opened up to officers with the Indiana State Police. About 25 officers were at the park as well.
The Valparaiso department hosts two to four coffee klatches each year, said Chief Michael Brickner, spread out at different venues around town. This was the first time the department held the program at the park so the K-9 officers could join in.
“It’s just a great opportunity to come and meet some people in a nice, relaxed atmosphere,” Brickner said, adding officers also get good and bad feedback about the department.
While daughter Elizabeth, 5, sipped chocolate milk and looked over a selection of police-themed pencils and glow sticks, mom Kathryn White of Valparaiso said she thought the event would be a good educational opportunity.
“She’s been really afraid of police officers lately for some reason. I thought this was a great idea, to meet and greet,” White said. “All (kids) see out in the community is when they’re doing their job, so they tend to see police officers as scary guys, so this is perfect.”
Elizabeth said she liked the doughnuts, and that meeting the officers and their dogs was good.
Cordova, for his part, said he loves his department’s aspect on community policing.
“It’s really enjoyable working for a community that enjoys us,” he said.