‘I could not find a better way to honor him’: Lake Mills K9 named after Capt. Truman begins training

‘I could not find a better way to honor him’: Lake Mills K9 named after Capt. Truman begins training

The Lake Mills Police Department will soon have a new member on their team – one they say has the capability to better the community after a tragedy.

Even though it’s been more than nine months since Fire Capt. Chris Truman died after being hit by a car on the side of the Beltline on an icy New Year’s Eve, his memory lives on in Lake Mills and beyond.

“I think the community was moved by the fact that this was such a dedicated member of the community and his loss is felt throughout, even for people who didn’t know him well,” said Kathy Price, a Madison resident who frequents Lake Mills.

Through his work in the community, Truman is well remembered.

“Chris was a very close personal friend of mine,” Lake Mills Police Chief Mick Selck said. “He worked in the same building. His office was just at the end of the hall behind me here.”

Out of those memories comes a new face to carry on Truman’s dedication. A Dutch shepard named in Truman’s honor began training to become a K-9 officer Monday.

“We’re hoping that the dog has a lot of the same qualities as Chris, you know, just being hardworking, great friendly personality,” Selk said. “After Chris passed a couple of my officers came up to me independently and said they thought Truman would be a good name for the dog and I could not find a better way to honor him and our community.”

Selck said the department was laying the groundwork for its first K-9 officer when Truman died. Now K-9 Truman will help tackle the heroin epidemic by tracking down drugs and will be trained in finding people and protecting his handler.

“We had a very positive feedback our very first fundraiser. At the Lake Mills Market, (it) was well over $7,000 of people coming in and donating to the cause,” Selk said. “There’s an overwhelming support for the program itself but I think by going with the name Truman it really brought it home to everybody.”

“I thought this was a very good idea, creative way to honor him,” Lake Mills resident Joanna Chworowsky said.

“I think it’s something that has meaning for both residents here and hopefully the family as well,” Price said.

As K-9 Truman begins training, Selck hopes this tribute will be an exercise in remembering Capt. Truman’s sacrifices.

“It’s gonna be that reminder to those of us not only about him and his personality but how fragile life can be and how those of us who are first responders you know we’re out there every day putting ourselves in those positions and maybe make people a little more vigilant,” he said.

If all goes well with training, Selck hopes to have Truman out on patrol in late October, with the opportunity for a meet and greet in November.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.