Round Lake Area Park District officials have decided to temporarily retire Nadja, the German shepherd and personal pet of Ranger police officer Terry Kaminski at the center of a debate over insurance.
At Thursday's park board meeting, commissioners postponed the issue of liability insurance for the dog, pending further discussion with their attorney and staff. In the meantime, they directed Kaminski to stop using Nadja while on duty. The insurance, whether paid for by Kaminiski or the board, is estimated to cost thousands of dollars.
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They also asked Kaminski to reconvert his patrol car to its original state. Currently, the vehicle is retrofitted for a dog to ride in the back seat.
Executive director Bob Newport said about 100 people attended the meeting Thursday to speak on behalf of Nadja.
"The community showed that she is a valuable asset ... and they appreciate it, and that made it, for everyone we (helped), worth it," Kaminski said.
Newport said the community's praise for the dog did not come as news to the board.
"We've known all along what a great dog it is," Newport said. "It didn't surprise any of us the amount of support that the community had (for Nadja)."
Newport said the main concern is that the Round Lake area needs to be the priority.
"They've been on calls everywhere from Alsip up into Wisconsin ... They were helping outside agencies," Newport said. "It's a great service but not a service that is the park district's to provide to the whole northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin area. We have to be responsible for our parks in the community first and foremost."
Newport said he expects the subject to resurface in coming months following more research.