Eugene Police recently welcomed two new K9 members to its team and threw a retirement party for a third. Police are also announcing the establishment of a Eugene Police K9 Fund, to provide improved equipment and quality training for the team.
The acquisition of K9 Cjuk, pronounced “Juke” and K9 Kato, will allow for the retirement of K9 Guus (pronounced “Hoose.” Due to Guus’ retirement, Sergeant Terry Martin and Officer Mike Casey traveled to the Adlerhorst International Police K9 Training facility in Jurupa Valley, California, to procure a new K9 for the Eugene Police K9 team. At the facility, Sergeant Martin and Officer Casey conducted tests and evaluations to determine the most suitable K9 for the team, and identified ‘Kato’, now our newest member.
Kato is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois with a current weight of approximately 65 lbs. He is assigned to his handler Officer Mark Hubbard, former handler of K9 Guus.
K9 Cjuk is a 2-year-old German Shepherd, which has gone through the testing and evaluation phase, and was generously donated by Officer Mike Casey, and is now property of EPD. Officer Casey has raised and trained dogs for use as police K9s for the past 10 years, and is now the handler of K9 Cjuk. The Redmond Police Department and Portland Police Bureau have both purchased dogs from Officer Casey, and the Junction City Police Department received a dog that was donated by Officer Casey.
A new fund has been set up for tax deductible donations to the K-9 fund, and the team has already received a significant donation that will allow for preventive surgery – K9s are at risk for a serious medical condition referred to as Gastric Torsion or Bloat. This can and has tragically happened to local K9s. The surgical procedure to prevent this condition costs $1,500, and because of the fund and generous donations, the team is able to afford this procedure. This is an example of how the fund will be used in the future.
Donations can be made by check and mailed to K-9 Fund, Eugene Police, 300 Country Club Road, Eugene, Oregon 97401. Donations are also now available online at http://www.eugenepolice.com through a secure PayPal service.
Eugene Police K9 Team
Eugene Police Department started its K-9 program in June 1983, with three dog/handler teams. Today, there are four K9 units, with three officer handlers, and a sergeant handler.
•Sgt. Terry Martin, K9 X•Officer Michael Casey, K9 Cjuk
•Officer Rob Griesel, K9 Blek•Officer Mark Hubbard, K9 Kato
BACKGROUND ABOUT K9 TEAMS
The primary purpose of the K9 teams are to aid patrol in locating subjects who have fled or are otherwise unable to be located. The K-9 Unit is one of the most dangerous assignments in the police department. The situations they face often involve armed suspects, the dark of night, and rough terrain. The dogs are fitted with electronic collars. This allows the handler to retain control of the animal even when it may be out of sight during a search. Because fleeing subjects most often do so over all types of terrain, it is important for handlers to be fit and strong enough to lift a dog that can weigh upwards of 110 pounds over fences and take them up, over and around obstacles.
The dogs usually come with European Dog Sport background, usually Schutzhund (German for “protection dog”) training, or KNPV (also known as the Royal Dutch Police Dog Sport) training because it provides a good background for further education as a police K9. Once Eugene Police acquires a dog, the dog undergoes training for another four weeks to transition to police work with an experienced handler. If a handler is new, the dog and handler attend a 6-week training course.
The dogs and handlers train every day that they are on patrol, during down time. Additionally, there is one dedicated day of team training each week, frequently including other agencies. The K9 Team also goes to two regional conferences per year that feature scenarios and training with outside agencies.
The dogs typically cost about $10,000. If they are cross-trained for narcotics or explosives, the cost goes up. Eugene Police and other law enforcement agencies have mutual aid agreements to deploy K9s to cover patrol needs for each other. It is not usual if an agency does not have a K9 on duty, to hear a call for another agency to send one to help apprehend a dangerous subject or subjects.
A dogs sense of smell is tens of thousands times more acute than ours, depending upon the dog. This is one of the reasons the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois breeds are selected for police work. The dogs can smell a single, broken blade of grass. They follow grass and disturbed ground scent, as well as the odor left behind by a fleeing person, to find them. The dogs learn how to track and air scent the strongest odor to locate the source.
When a K9 is off duty, they live at home with their handler.