WAITE PARK -- Today (Monday) will be the last day on the force for Waite Park's four legged officer.

During the city council meeting, the council will approve the retirement of Kato the police dog, and hiring of a new police dog.

Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud says the seven-year-old German Shepherd had some health issues which forced the early retirement.

"Last year we kind of scaled back on his duties and found he just wasn't able to do the things he needed to do and broke down a little early," says Bentrud.

Earlier this fall, the police department raised about $27,000 to help purchase a new police dog. Bentrud says he is thankful for the residents and sponsors who helped donate towards their efforts.

"You know without the community support we have gotten over the years, it would be more difficult for use to continue our canine program which has been a rich tradition here in Waite Park," says Bentrud.

Purchase of a new police dog is about $13,500, which include all the needed training, which the police department is currently in the process of.

Bentrud says it will take a few months before the dog, who they expect to name Parker, is ready to go out on patrol.

"There is narcotics, a tracking course he needs to complete, so there is a lot of work for the dog and handler over the next several months before he is ready for deployment," says Bentrud.

Officer Derek Whitehead was Kato's handler over the last seven years. St. Joseph Police officer Eric Brutger has agreed to adopt Kato as a pet.