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The Bend Police Department has changed the name of one of its K9s, “Lil’ Kim,” following a controversy over the fact that it shares a name with Grammy award-winning rapper Lil’ Kim, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.
Riccardo Waites, the founder of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly, said in a video Thursday that he met with Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz to express concerns about the dog’s name.
“It’s a little tiny black dog, K9 dog, that the police call ‘Lil’ Kim.’ If you’re a person of color, or if you’re a fan of Lil’ Kim, you know her significance in Hip Hop. You also know that she’s a gangster rapper,” he said in the video. “Just to be honest, I don’t want to see Lil’ Kim out there biting people of color.”
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Waites went on to say that Chief Krantz agreed to only use the dog’s actual name, Kim, in the future.
The Bend Police Department’s K9, Kim, can be seen here through a nigh vision monocular working a training scenario in complete darkness.
(Bend Police Department)
Chief Krantz told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the dog, a Belgian Malinois shepherd, was never named after the rapper, but would now go by Kim.
“Although the dog is not named after a musician, it’s important to recognize that some people may assume that or believe that,” Krantz told OPB. “I think in the eyes of some community members there is a connection historically to the use of dogs, specifically on protestors and Black community members, and that, that could bring a fear of canines.”
Krantz also denied that the recent controversy was responsible for the name change.
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The Bend Police Department routinely referred to the K9 as Lil’ Kim in press releases and statements on social media.
The Bend Police Department wished their K9, Kim, a happy 6th birthday in January.
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“Bend PD K9 Kim (aka Lil’ Kim as she is little but mighty) is turning 6,” the department wrote on Facebook to celebrate her birthday in January.
“K9 Kim is a Belgian Malinois who is a rockstar suspect apprehension dog,” the department wrote. “She is trained to locate a suspect who is fleeing or hiding. Her skills are not limited to only tracking suspects; she can also help with searching for missing people, like a child or elderly person who has wandered away from home.”
Waites wrote on Facebook Friday that he is “appreciative of the department for stepping up and listening to community.”