Meet Your Neighbor: Iman Ali, from Kenya to US College

Michelle Cole, Jake, & Iman Ali

By Carol McCracken (Post # 564)

It’s been a long journey from Kenya to Portland for Iman, but clearly he’s thriving in his home in Kennedy Park. MHN.com had an opportunity to visit with him one day recently when he was on duty with Michelle Cole and her bomb sniffer dog, Jake. The three were riding in a police car on the waterfront on a steamy day.

Iman, 18, is employed this summer in the Portland Police Cadet program. He and another Cadet employee, Ater Ater, have spent a large part of the summer patroling the streets of the Old Port reminding businesses that if there are any problems to contact the police department. Iman graduated from Portland High School in June. Next month he’ll attend the Southern Maine Community College for two years before transferring to a four year college. Iman wants to study medicine to become a doctor; either at the University of New England or University of Southern Maine, Portland.

With Iman is Michelle Cole, and her 7 year old chocolate lab who is hard to ignore! Friendly Jake was trained at 3 years old to be a bomb sniffing dog at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Vassalboro. Cole, who has had Jake since he was a puppy, will be retired soon. Cole says he doesn’t get paid for his hard work; but his food and vet bills are paid, and she gets a little more in her pay check. Since January, the two have been on 13 bomb sniffing calls within the State.

Iman’s salary is paid from a US grant received this spring.