The Westport Police Department has added an officer with an international pedigree to its ranks.

Koda, an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois from Hungary, has become the department's newest K9 service dog.

Koda was formally welcomed to the department Monday during a brief ceremony led by Chief Dale Call, joined by the dog's handler, Officer James Loomer.

Also attending was Michael Cantor, the 12-year-old Westporter who suggested Koda's name, which was chosen from among about 50 entries in a "name-the-dog contest" sponsored by the department when plans to acquire a new dog were announced earlier this year.

Michael said that his family had a dog in the past, but that his sister got to name it. When his father told him about the K9 contest, he jumped at the chance to name the new dog. "Koda just popped into my head as a strong name," he said. "This is very cool."

Michael was given a Certificate of Appreciation, police cap and police jacket, along with thanks from Call for the suggestion.

The boy's mother, Denise, said, "Mike loves dogs and to pick names ... This is terrific and I'm proud that he was part of the process."

Loomer, who has completed several months training with Koda, said the dog is "high energy and loves having a task and has a good temperament.

"He knows how to relax, but when it's go time, he can go 0 to 60 in a second," the K9 officer added. He and Koda have received certification in narcotics detection and patrol work.

The department's K9 Unit bought Koda and a new patrol vehicle dedicated to the dog's future assignments from donations collected during a fundraising drive launched after the K9, Lola, retired earlier this year.

The new vehicle is equipped with the latest equipment for K9s, including a heat-monitoring system that detects if is too hot for the dog. The system automatically rolls down the windows, activates a fan attached to the side of the kennel, and alerts the handler via siren and pager, according to police officials.