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Morris police closer to getting canine help

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 8:54 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, June 16, 2014 8:55 p.m. CST

MORRIS – The Morris Police Department is one step closer to adding a four-legged officer to its roster.

The department is slated to purchase a drug-sniffing canine that should be trained and ready for duty by early October. The dog will work alongside Morris police officer Patrick Funk who will begin training for the position in August at the Illinois State Police Academy.

The Morris City Council passed Monday an ordinance outlining the compensation and duties of officer Funk and his canine partner.

“It will be a nice resource to have,” Morris Police Chief Brent Dite said Monday. “It’s going to help combat the drug problem in town.”

The Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office will be purchasing the dog and the equipment needed for the canine patrol vehicle. The office is using money from the county’s drug asset forfeiture fund, which is funded by property seized during drug investigations.

Morris’s dog and equipment is estimated to cost about $13,000.

The city will be obligated to pay the canine officer’s stipend, which was approved at $2,000.

The state’s attorney’s office recently provided a drug canine for the Minooka Police Department, and he is already actively working for the department.

Dite said Morris previously used a drug dog, but added that it “has been several, several years” since the department has had one.

New playground

for Lion’s Park

Issues with children getting splinters from the cedar playground equipment has prompted the Morris Lion’s Club to purchase new equipment for Lions Park in Morris.

The Lion’s Club recently acquired $30,000 in new equipment for the park, but the organization underestimated the cost of installing the updated playground. The group budgeted $6,000 for the install, but the job will cost closer to $10,000.

The Lion’s Club asked the city of Morris to pitch in the $3,775 needed to complete the playground installation.

The city formally agreed to help with the installation costs during Monday’s Parks and Annexation Committee meeting and later that evening at the full City Council meeting.

“They do a good job with the park. I say we give them a hand,” Alderman Julian Houston said.

No firearms

at public events

Guns and public events should not mix according to Illinois’ concealed carry law, and now residents carrying firearms at events like Gus Macker, Morris Cruise Nights or 3 French Hens Market could be prosecuted.

The state law includes a clause prohibiting the carrying of firearms at certain public events. However, the city could not properly enforce that section of law until Monday’s council meeting when it approved a permit needed to make the clause enforceable.

Event organizers with special festivals in downtown Morris will need to apply for the free permit.

“It’s not changing anything, it’s just making us compliant with the state law,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said Monday.

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