What started as an April Fool’s joke between interior design professor Kelly (Kercheval ’09) Mann and ACU’s apple-fritter-loving police chief Jimmy Ellison has tongues (and tails) wagging across campus a year later.
A miniature Schnauzer, dubbed Fritter the K9 and owned by Mann, has taken her place as an official ambassador for the ACU Police Department, sporting her own ballistic vest, miniature cruiser and social media accounts.
Fritter’s reign as top dog at ACUPD began as a half-serious suggestion by Mann that Ellison create a canine division, an idea he quickly vetoed for cost and liability reasons. But Mann wasn’t ready to give up on the idea.
“I am a very sarcastic person, as is the chief, so when he said that, I saw it as a challenge,” Mann said.
She asked a friend if she could borrow her miniature schnauzer. She set to work and made the dog a K9 vest, then began staging photos at the police station at times Ellison was away. She created a private social media account for Fritter with plans to make it public April 1, 2019.
That morning, Mann arrived at the police station with the dog and a box of apple fritters. Ellison walked in and began laughing, she said.
Fritter became an immediate hit with students and employees alike, and requests for appearances around campus came pouring in.
“I’ve always recognized there’s a lot of potential out there with social media, particularly with the age of our constituency,” Ellison said, “so I thought we’ll just run with this.”
Fritter 1.0 has now been replaced with a new Schnauzer owned by Mann. The sassy canine has appeared at sports events, in classrooms, and even drove her tiny cruiser in the Homecoming parade.
“Everybody’s getting a kick out of it, and we’re getting positive exposure and getting people plugged into the police department,” Ellison said. “It’s a win-win.”
Here are some of our favorite social media posts from and about this sassy canine: