SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Astonished that they won, 4th graders Angel Ortiz and Alizeah Rodriguez remain speechless.
They beat out all their other classmates to win the White Street School’s “Name the Springfield Police K-9” essay contest. Held there, since it’s where k-9 Officer Tommy Horne attended school.
There were two winners, because they both happened to pick the same name, Hunter. “I had a dog named Hunter, and I just wanted to name that dog Hunter because I thought it was a great name for him,” Alizeah Rodriguez said.
“When he looks for a criminal, when the criminal drops something, he’s able to smell it and go, ‘hunt’” stated Angel Ortiz.
After Officer Horne’s old partner, Marco, retired, he needed a new one.
The department turned to the non-profit Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
However, these specially trained German Shepherds can be expensive. When the Springfield Kennel Club heard about the K-9 unit’s need, they cut the department a $1500 check covering Hunter’s price.
It was an extra added bonus to find out that the two students who won the essay contest also want to become Springfield police officers.
“I remember when I was just a young child and I came here, I saw the K-9 unit come and I was really excited. To see these kids be just as excited as I was at that time when I was that age, it was really, really nice to see that,” Officer Horne shared.
Officer Horne says both he and Hunter are still bonding but they should be ready to hit the streets together in the fall.
Hunter will be trained in narcotics, obedience searches, and apprehension.