With a sense of smell thousands of times more accurate than their human companions, K-9 police dogs are an important addition to the Edina police force and to the community they serve.
Edina honors these furry crime-fighters with a memorial sculpture by lifetime Edina resident Michelle Recke. “I’m very proud to be one of the first communities to memorialize their K-9 workers.” Recke says, “I really am a big advocate for saying ‘thank you’ to them.”
In the early 2000s, Sgt. Kevin Rofidal led the charge in bringing the K-9 program back to Edina. “We were constantly calling all of the cities around us for K-9 support.” Rofidal says. He decided to go to the police chief to present his idea for the K-9 program and with the help of local donors, the idea became a reality.
Rofidal was one of the first officers to participate in this K-9 program. His dog’s name was Kodiak, and Kodiak liked people. “I had him out at a school doing a presentation once and the kids started clapping and he just loved it,” Rofidal says. “He knew it was all about him and he hammed it up.”
But Kodiak also knew how to do his job. “We did a lot of tracking,” Rofidal says, “and once he got on a scent he just had the time of his life.”
In July, an Edina K-9 named Ike was diagnosed with epilepsy and retired from duty. The new sculpture is a way to honor any current dogs in the program, but it’s also a tribute to K-9 dogs that have retired or passed away. “These dogs are so key, even in the city of Edina,” Rofidal says. “We couldn’t do it without their support.”
The sculpture will be on display at Edina City Hall and Police Station. Drop by to pay your respects to the dogs that help keep our community safe.