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Somerset police to get new K-9 vehicle

When the engine went out on the Somerset Police Department's 2000 Ford Expedition recently, the department was faced with a problem.

It happened that the vehicle was the transport for the K-9 unit: Sgt. Mike Kappers and dog Xaro.

The vehicle was not scheduled to be replaced until 2012, but at the Village of Somerset Board meeting on July 21, they decided to move up the date.

Police Chief Doug Briggs told the board that selecting the vehicle was tricky.

"We don't know how long Xaro is going to work," Briggs said of the 13-year-old dog.

The vehicle would need to be large enough to accommodate a 75 pound German Shepherd plus all the police equipment.

Working with Bernard's Chrysler Dodge Jeep in New Richmond, they were able to find a 2006 silver Dodge Durango with 33,400 miles for $13,995.

Briggs said that due to the dog's age, they wanted a vehicle that could serve as a K-9 unit for now, then as a regular police vehicle when Xaro retired.

"We're not going to push out the seats on this one," Briggs explained, referring to the modified Expedition interior that accommodates the K-9 cage.

The board approved the purchase.

In other news:

• The board approved donating $3,000 to the Somerset Disc Golf Association for purchasing disc golf baskets for the course located in the La Grandeur Nature Park.

• The board decided to table the building inspector fees agenda item until it could get some bids from other inspectors to compare fee structures.

• The board approved the picnic beer license for the Somerfest celebration on Aug. 14 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Aug. 15 from 10 a.m.-midnight.

• The board awarded J&L Steel and Electrical Services of Hudson the contract for the Well #3 (the old water tower). The cost is $42,653 plus the required disconnect fee of $1,935, as required by Xcel Energy.

• The Village of Somerset Board meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at the Village Hall at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.