In July 1972, Officer Doug Madsen approached Chief Bennett about starting a canine program in Edina. Madsen pitched the idea and Chief Bennett liked it. Madsen volunteered to be the first Canine Handler for the department and began work with a 20-month-old German Shepherd Dog named Jet. Jet was donated by a Bloomington family.
Madsen and Jet spent three months training at the Minneapolis Police Department Canine Training Center, and then hit the street running. Jet was trained as a patrol dog learning basic obedience, agility, broad jumping, tracking, open area searching and building searches. Madsen said “He’s a big asset because he not only finds suspects, but he can tell us if they’re gone out of the area,” according to an interview with the Edina Sun newspaper.
Move to Minneapolis
The two worked the streets of Edina until 1973 when Madsen took a job with the Minneapolis Police Department and Jet followed.
Line of Duty Death
In December 1974, Jet was the first police canine killed in the line of duty in Minnesota. While searching a building for a burglary suspect, Jet moved to the rooftop. Apparently, Jet heard voices in the parking lot below and hopped over a two-foot wall to investigate. Unaware that the other side of the wall was not an extension, Jet fell four floors to his death.
Madsen worked with five dogs during his career until retiring in 1999, Jet being his first.
Return of the K-9 Program
It wasn’t until late 2001 when Officer Kevin Rofidal, whose K-9, Kodiak, retired March 2010, brought up the idea of starting a K-9 program to then-Police Chief Mike Siitari. With a clear understanding that the community could benefit from a K-9 program, Siitari signed the program into action.