K-9 officer getting ready to join Charles City police force

Officers Dario Gamino, left, and John Jenkins visit Midwest K9 in Des Moines to meet Jordi, the likely new K-9 to join the Charles City Police Department.
Officers Dario Gamino, left, and John Jenkins visit Midwest K9 in Des Moines to meet Jordi, the likely new K-9 to join the Charles City Police Department. Photo courtesy Charles City Police Department
By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

His name is Jordy and soon he’ll be an officer of the law.

But first, he’s got a little more training to do.

Jordy, a Dutch shepherd, will join the Charles City Police Department in the near future.

Officer Dario Gamino and Jordy will soon become inseparable, as Gamino will work closely with the dog after he leaves his current residence, Midwest K-9 in Des Moines.

“He’s going to be my working partner — 24-7,” said Gamino.

CCPD has put a down payment on Jordy so Midwest K-9 can hold the animal until enough funds are raised to be able to bring him back home to Charles City.

The total cost associated with the purchase of Jordy is $12,000, which includes outfitting a police vehicle to keep him safe. The CCPD received a grant for $3,000 and will also hold  fundraisers to cover the cost of the K-9 unit.

Jordy will replace Midnight, who retired last year because of medical issues. Midnight, a black Lab mix, was a single-narcotics dog that joined the force in 2009.

“Midnight helped keep our community safe and provided a bridge between the K-9 officer and kids in the community,” said Charles City Police Chief Hugh Anderson.

Jordy will live with Gamino and the two will soon begin to form a close-knit bond, on-duty and off. Gamino picked out Jordy over two other dogs.

“Jordy was one of my favorites. I’d like his energy,” said Gamino, who wrestled for and graduated from Waldorf University in Forest City before becoming a member of Charles City’s police force.

Gamino was hired as a bilingual officer in May of 2017, but he can now add K-9 officer to his resume as he and Jordy will try to help stop the proliferation of narcotics in the area.

“Narcotics have become a way of life for many in our community, so Jordy is a great asset to our department in the fact that with narcotics comes along assaults, abuse, thefts and everything else,” said Anderson.

Anderson said it takes a lot of dedication and hard work — not to mention time spent — for the dog and officer to become a cohesive part of the force. Anderson said no one else will handle the dog except Gamino.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a bigger responsibility,” said Gamino. “They know I can do the job and they believe in me. I have to keep up with the training and make the dog useful.”

Gamino will travel to Des Moines to work with Jordy and his trainer once they figure out a schedule that works well for both parties. Once that process is completed, then it usually takes a couple weeks, sometimes longer, before Jordy is ready to join the force.

“Seeing these dogs work is actually amazing. He’s going to be one of us as an officer,” said Gamino.

Anderson said Jordy is really friendly, but a little skinny. He makes up for that lack of weight with his height.

“He’s taller than me when he stands up,” said Anderson.

Jordy is trained to execute search warrants and has a nose for sniffing out drugs. He has a special diet, and Gamino will reward him with a treat when he performs well.

“He gets excited when Dario is going to take him out and try to find drugs,” said Anderson. “The thing a lot of people don’t understand is, he’s a working dog, but for him, the work is play.”

In the past, Denny’s Recycling in town has allowed K-9 units to go out and practice on searching old cars sitting in the junkyard. Anderson said that Jordy is required to do 16 hours of training a month, which is a national standard.

T-shirts will soon be available for sale as a fundraiser to help pay for Jordi. They were also designed by Gamino and say “By the Community, for the Community” on the back. Jordy’s name is printed on the front.

A large reason Midnight was able to join the force almost 10 years ago was through the generosity of former talk show host Jenny Jones. Jones established “Jenny’s Heroes,” a program created through her foundation that grants money to individuals or agencies wanting to make a difference in the community. The CCPD was awarded $6,000 from Jones’ program.

Dr. John Moellers of the Charles City Animal Clinic helped pay all of Midnight’s medical expenses in the past. Anderson said an anonymous donor also helped provide almost all of Midnight’s food in the time he was on duty.

Anderson is inviting people to be part of the community effort to help bring Jordy home. People can send donations to the Charles City Police Department or make checks payable to the Charles City Police Department – K-9. You can reach Police Chief Anderson to discuss the K-9 program at 641-228-3366 or chief@cityofcharlescity.org.