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.
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."