Fifth-grade Lewiston-Altura student Harlie Williams knew her dad John was onto something when he took lengths of parachute cord and knotted them into colorful wristbands. Quickly picking up on the craft, she thought she could use the bracelets to raise funds, and Harlie's mother, Jenny, suggested that Harlie set her sights on Cleo, the newest Winona County Sheriff's addition, and on helping raise money for the K9 police dog and her training needs.
Harlie got to work, weaving strands of orange, lime green, pink, black, and deep green, using a cobra stitch. She began selling her bracelets for $8 each at school, and to employees of the Sheriff's Department through Investigator Kraig Glover. Deputy Adam Carlson, who is Cleo's handler, said the $100 she raised was a big surprise. He said the department was "absolutely" appreciative of Harlie's hard work. "I wasn't expecting that."
Cleo, a Belgian Malinois, came to the Sheriff's Department from Jeff Ellis Training in Mower County. She is trained for tracking, detecting narcotics and "street work," said Carlson. The intense training needed for a police dog to be used in law enforcement work comes at a hefty price, tooŚCleo cost a total of $20,000, all raised through donations.
Cleo replaces Blitz, the former Sheriff's Department K9 who retired last year. The police K9 program started in 2005 with Duce, who experienced medical problems and wasn't on the job long.
Those involved in the program know that the dedicated K9 police dogs have saved lives, and helped keep officers out of harm's way.
To purchase a handmade Harlie bracelet, contact Glover at 507-457-6368.