Minneapolis/St. Paul’s First Police Dog

He was the first police dog to be used to effect in Minneapolis/St. Paul between 1967 and 1972, and his impact on law enforcement led to other agencies in the five state area around Minnesota to get their own police dogs. His name was “King,” and we honor his service.

So did the City of Anoka. After his death in 1973, the city (where he served) named a park in his honor, and initially, placed a concrete statue of a German Shepherd in it.  Ten years later, the Anoka Police Federation commissioned Roger Brodin, a Minneapolis artist, to create a life size bronze statue of King from photographs.

King was two years old and 95 pounds when he joined the force in 1967 after the American Legion raised $780 to purchase him for the department.  He could track down kids, smell out “bad guys” and had a “demoralizing effect on hoods.” His handler was Andy Revering who’d worked with sentry dogs while serving in the U.S. Air Force. Andy and King went through 14 weeks of training at the National Police Dog Academy in Moline, Kansas where King learned to run down a fleeing suspect, stand guard for as long as required, and find lost people. He was also taught to be gentle with any approaching child, not a problem since King had a deep soft spot for kids.

From the Anoka Historical Society: “King became a bit of a local celebrity due to his heroic service. In 1981, the Anoka County Humane Society was looking for a fundraiser and got in touch with Anoka Liquor Store Director Bill Swazlick about a commemorative beer can. As a City of Anoka employee, Bill was familiar with King, his exploits, and his popularity in the community. He requested permission from Andy and convinced the Humane Society to put King on the can as a crime prevention promotion and to raise money for the shelter animals. While off-duty, King lived with the Revering family and was good friends with the Revering kids. He was known to spend his free hours pulling the neighborhood children around on a sled. Andy went on to become Anoka’s Chief of Police, and King retired from the force in 1974. He passed away of old age a year later. In 1977, a new children’s park in Anoka, called King Memorial Park, was dedicated in his memory. A cement statue of King was put in the park, but it quickly became worn by all the children playing on it and petting it. It was replaced by a bronze statue of King that stands in the park today.”

Monuments like King’s matter. They teach our children that sacrifice and service aren’t just the purview of two legged adult, and that the dog next door doesn’t look like the statue of a German Shepherd Dog, thereby tacitly teaching about different dog breeds. Kudos to the groups who honor such dogs.

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