Contrary to what some people have thought, Melnic the police K9 isn’t actually lost.
He’s probably at home chewing on a toy. Or riding in the back of his handler’s patrol vehicle. Or chasing a suspect.
But that hasn’t stopped dozens of children — and a couple of fun-loving adults — from searching for him all over downtown Olympia.
That’s because they are participating in a scavenger hunt created by the Olympia Police Department that has really taken off in its second year, Lt. Paul Lower said. About 30 downtown businesses signed on to post photos of Melnic in their front windows, and all of the Olympia School District schools are participating, too.
“The amount of businesses we have has doubled this year,” Lower said. “And we expect the number of kids participating to double, too.”
One group of children arranged in advance to stop by the police station, then walk around together looking for the posters.
“They decided to really turn it into an event,” Lower said.
If you haven’t yet participated in “Where’s Melnic?” there’s still time. Melnic’s photos will remain in business windows until Jan. 8.
To play, pick up a checklist from a participating business, or download one from the city’s “Where’s Melnic?” webpage. Find five participating businesses, all marked by Melnic posters, and write them down. Then submit your completed checklist to the Olympia Police Department at 601 Fourth Ave. E.
Those who turn in checklists will be invited to meet Melnic at an upcoming event, and will receive a “pawtographed” photo of the K9. Last year, about a dozen children and their parents showed up to meet Melnic.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Lower said. “The kids will get a chance to hear Melnic’s story and ask some questions. And best of all, they’ll get to pet him.”
Lower said the annual scavenger hunt was created as a way to bolster the Olympia Police Department’s relationship with the community, and with businesses. Plus, it’s fun.
“It adds to the experience of going downtown,” Lower said. “When parents are walking around shopping, the kids have something fun to do, too.”