ROCK FALLS – IFH Group has created a custom ride for a special Rock Falls police officer that now may become part of the company’s line of products.
When the police department got its new K-9 vehicle, a Ford F-150 pickup, it decided it needed a special kennel. The department turned to the designers and welders at IFH Group for a solution for senior patrolman Jeremy Vondra and his partner, Nero, Police Chief Mike Kuelper said Tuesday.
“The old K-9 unit had half a K-9 cage, so prisoners would sit in the back seat next to the dog,” Kuelper said. “We requested a full-size kennel to go back there, and they said they could fabricate one for us.”
Vondra had a hand in perfecting the kennel, which takes up the entire rear seat. It also provides “plenty of ventilation between the front cab area and the interior of the kennel to more easily control the climate for the dog’s comfort and safety,” IFH said in a news release.
The kennel allows Nero “to jump in and not have to turn his body to the rear of the vehicle, as he had to do in the kennel design that was used previously, saving wear and tear on the joints of the dog’s hips, shoulders and legs,” the release said.
IFH Group, 3300 E. Rock Falls Road, makes hydraulic oil reservoirs and fuel tanks for off-road vehicles that are used in construction, agriculture and other areas; makes fluid storage and dispensing equipment for lubricants, oils, chemicals and other industrial fluids; and does custom metal fabrication and powder coating.
It donated the specially designed kennel to the department, Kuelper said.
“They want to be able to fabricate it for others and be a part of its products,” he said.
The pickup already is equipped with a Hot-N-Pop, a device that automatically activates a horn honk signal, the light bar and a fan, and rolls down the windows if it gets too hot inside for Nero’s safety.
The device also can open the car door via a remote if an officer needs his dog by his side in an emergency.
The addition of the kennel makes the K-9 vehicle a “really impressive unit,” the chief said.