K9 team retires together

Le Sueur County Sgt. Dave Struckman and his canine partner, Kane, are retiring from duty. (Photo courtesy Mattson Photography LLC)
 
Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Struckman and his deputy canine partner, Kane, will retire at the end of the month. 
 
“I started thinking about retirement about a year ago. I turned 60, and I knew it was about time. Kane is ready to retire, too," stated Struckman, who purchased his canine partner from the county for $1. "It’s time for him to enjoy just being a dog, but it will probably be strange for both of us not to put on our badges the first few days (of retirement).” 
 
Struckman has served the county for 38 years. In addition to being a patrolman, Struckman taught D.A.R.E. to thousands of local kids, served as the county’s first and only K9 officer, started programs to help needy kids, and was integral in starting the sheriff’s chaplain program which helps officers mentally process tragic situations. 
 
“You see a lot in this line of work—great things and horrendous things—especially when you’re around for as long as I’ve been,” Struckman stated. “You’re trained for it, but it takes a toll on you.”
 
Struckman grew up in Coon Rapids and admittedly was off to a bad start until one police officer interceded. 
 
“I was hanging around with low-life types, and then one day a Minneapolis cop (Jim Winther) whom I played softball with asked me to ride with him. We rode the north side of Minneapolis all summer,” Struckman explained. “After that, I knew I wanted to help people.” 
 
See more in the print edition.