STEVENSVILLE — The Lincoln Township Police Department is turning to its community schools for help on naming its incoming K-9 officer.

Police Chief Gary Soper said the department plans to narrow their choices down to five names and have students vote on which one they prefer.

“We’re doing this partly because the community was so huge in obtaining the funding for this,” Soper said. “I thought it was the best thing to do. It makes it a little more personal, especially with the elementary schools. Then we’ll be able to make school visits.”

With the help of community donors, the police department was able to buy the K-9, outfit a vehicle with the cage, install a kennel at the police station, and buy handler equipment and other incidentals such as a bulletproof vest.

Soper said one of the department’s Facebook followers made the suggestion that they involve the Lakeshore Elementary School students in the choosing of the name.

Officers plan to visit the Stewart, Roosevelt, Hollywood, St. Paul Lutheran and Christ Lutheran elementary schools in March to work out the details to have the schools involved in the choosing of the name.

Soper said all the officers are excited to welcome the K-9 to the force.

“We have the kennel being built and they walk by it all the time,” Soper said. “It’s just a reminder. It makes it a little more real. It’s an exciting time.”

Mid-Michigan Police K9 plans to make the trip to Poland in late March to hand-pick the township’s four-legged officer.

Soper said they requested a male German shepherd, who will be brought into a 5-week training program.

Lincoln Township police had originally set a deadline to raise funds by February, but reached their goal in November.

“We got the funding so quickly that even the canine facility said they had never seen that much raised in a short time,” Soper said. “It’s refreshing to see the community support a police force like that.”

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski